Sprague Wins in Music City
- Jun 10, 2002
- Team Hendrick
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 10, 2002)—Jack Sprague and his No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet Monte Carlo dominated Saturday’s Inside Traxx 300 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, rolling to a NASCAR Busch Series victory in the process, his first in 90 career starts.
“Tonight was just awesome,” said Sprague, who earned the traditional Gibson guitar trophy for his winning effort. “I’m telling you, when I saw that guitar in the driver’s meeting, I knew I wanted it real bad—I can’t believe I’ve got it.
“During that last caution, my crew chief Dennis Connor told me he’d pay for guitar lessons for a whole year if I won the race. I guess he’s got some paying up to do now.”
Sprague took the lead for the first time on lap 23 and led the field to the first caution flag on the 61st circuit. The No. 24 and the rest of the leaders rolled into the pits and, thanks to solid pit work by his NetZero crew, returned to the track still at the top of the running order after picking up four tires and fuel.
Sprague, who earned 23 wins en route to three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championships, ended his quest for his first Busch Series victory, running in the top-five throughout the race.
The Spring Lake, Mich., native battled Greg Biffle for the top spot in the closing stages of the event, taking the lead for the last time on lap 203. The Hendrick Motorsports driver then cruised the final 22 circuits without incident to score the win.
Before heading to victory lane, Sprague treated the large Tennessee crowd to a wild series of burnouts.
“Winning a Busch race was something I’ve wanted and this team needed to do for a while now,” said Sprague, who spent four years in the Busch Series before heading to the trucks in 1995. “The NetZero Chevy was really good all weekend and once the race started, we knew we were bad to the bone after about five laps into a run.
“I’m surprised it took us so long to win because we’ve been close so many times this year. Now I’ve got that monkey off my back.”
Sprague earned $50,910 for his winning performance and continues to lead the 2002 Busch Series championship chase with 2,177 points, 80 ahead of second-place Jason Keller.