Sprague Ready for Busy Weekend at Indy
- Aug 03, 2002
- Team Hendrick
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 3, 2002)—When the NASCAR Busch Series visits Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday, Jack Sprague and his NetZero team hope that proven chassis notes and past on-track success will get them to victory lane in the Kroger 200.
“It was around this time last year that this team began turning things around in the truck series,” said Sprague. “We won at New Hampshire a few weeks before, then went on to win at IRP.
“IRP has always been good to my team and me, so hopefully we can use some of our old notes and experience to get a good run in the NetZero Chevy. We’re bringing the same car I won with at Nashville in June, so we know we have a car capable of winning.”
Sprague has had more than his share of success at the .686-mile oval track. The Spring Lake, Mich., native has seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts there, highlighted by two wins—last year’s Power Stroke 200 and the 1998 Cummins 200. He also has two truck series runner-up finishes at IRP and an average starting spot of sixth, despite never winning a pole position at the venue.
“Most tracks are run on the bottom, but at IRP, you run around the top,” Sprague stated. “You run up against the wall almost all the way around the track and you have to be very careful you don’t get into the wall. It’s a lot of fun and a very challenging track.
“I always look forward to going back and racing there, especially feeling like I can win. It’s a track I’ve never really had bad luck at and hope it doesn’t start now.
“I can remember some really great races there,” he continued. “The 1998 event is one of the best I can think of. The fans were so mad when I beat Ron Hornaday after a heated battle. It was pretty awesome.”
It will be a busy weekend for the talented driver, as he will also compete in the fourth and final IROC race of the 2002 season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The only NCTS driver to ever be invited to race in the series, Sprague will be making several trips between the two tracks on Saturday.
“I’ll have to put in a little time in the Busch car and then jump in a helicopter over to the big track,” said Sprague. “I know Jeff Green did it last year and had time for both events, so I know the schedule is at least doable.
“I’m just grateful my team understands how important these IROC races are to me and are willing to work around the schedule. This weekend will be the last race for me in an IROC car and I’m looking forward to going out with a really good run.”
Sprague enters Saturday’s race coming off a 14th-place finish in the most recent Busch Series event at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. He is currently third in the 2002 championship standings heading into the 200-lap event.
The Kroger 200 will take the green flag on Saturday, August 3 at 8 p.m. EDT. The event marks the 22nd of 34 Busch Series races this season and will be broadcast live on TNT and MRN Radio.