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Sprague Prepared for Chicagoland Double

JOLIET, Ill. (July 12, 2002)—There aren`t many tracks on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule that Jack Sprague hasn`t competed on at some point in his career.

Whether it be in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series or the Busch Series, Sprague has plenty of experience, but none at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., the site of this weekend’s Tropicana Twister 300.

“Chicagoland is going to be a bit different for me since I`ve never been there or even seen the track for that matter,” said three-time truck series champion. “I`ve got two races to run there this weekend, but I`m actually happy about that because it will give me double the time on the track to prepare and get a good feel on how to get around it.”

Sprague is not only running his No. 24 NetZero Chevy at the 1.5-mile D-shaped tri-oval on Saturday, but he will also make his third appearance in an IROC car. Currently third in Busch Series points, he goes into the IROC event at Chicagoland fourth in the overall standings.

The Spring Lake, Mich., native is looking forward to the upcoming jam-packed weekend and hopes to have performed a one-two punch when all is said and done.

“There haven`t been too many tracks this year that I haven`t been to at some point, but this weekend is one of those few,” said Sprague. “The NetZero team didn`t get a chance to test there, but (Hendrick Motorsports teammate) Ricky Hendrick did a few weeks back and gave me a few hints to go on this weekend, and from what I`ve heard, Chicago and Kansas are pretty much a clone of each other, and that’s cool with me because I loved racing at Kansas in the truck series last year.”

Sprague, currently third in the Busch Series driver standings with 11 top-10 finishes, six top fives and one victory, is looking to use the extra IROC seat time to his advantage.

“I`m told Chicagoland is smooth and even considered a Michigan-type track, as well,” he said. “Until I get out there I won`t really know. Being able to run the IROC car out there will help as far as getting more track time, but you can`t compare the IROC car to my NetZero Chevy because the IROC car has so much downforce that they just handle so much better. Even a bad handling IROC car is easier to drive than a good handling Busch car.

“I`m going to use that extra seat time to get a feel for the track, get a good mindset on how to get in and out of the corners and a feel for the apex.

“I don`t usually have trouble with new tracks and I think we`ll be fine for the race on Saturday.”

Sprague enters this weekend`s event after a disappointing 28th-place finish in the most recent series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where he fell to third in the season standings after leading for four consecutive events.

The Tropicana Twister 300 will take the green flag on Saturday, July 13 at 3:30 p.m. EDT. The 19th of 34 NASCAR Busch Series races this season will be televised live on NBC and broadcast on MRN Radio affiliates.

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