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Sprague Prepared for Bristol Return

 

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 23, 2002)—Jack Sprague has many fond memories of Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but the Channellock 250 NASCAR Busch Series race last March isn’t one of them.

“I love racing at Bristol and I’ve been waiting for this particular race because our last one here was just awful,” said Sprague, who finished 19th after being spun on the final lap by Jimmy Spencer. “I was so mad at Jimmy Spencer that day. I’m just glad nothing came of it because if you look at how things have gone all year with teams and penalties, our season could have been tarnished if tempers got any hotter.

“I was just so disgusted with the whole weekend from crashing in practice, a poor qualifying run and then a horrible race. I would like to think the next race at Bristol would have to be a whole lot better for us.”

A better race is what Sprague needs if he is going to stay afloat in the 2002 title chase. Currently third in the point standings, Sprague has a lot of ground to cover to get back on top. The Spring Lake, Mich., driver hopes the Bristol event, his 98th career Busch Series start, will be the first step in that climb back to the top.

“We need to find a pot of gold or something because I don’t know what else to do,” said Sprague, who won the 1999 Coca-Cola 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Bristol. “I always ran good there in the truck series and the track seemed to like me back then. I was shocked when it was taken off the truck series schedule because it made for great races.

“Bristol’s a typical short track, but with awesome banking and speed. Obviously, we need to improve on everything right now and Bristol might be a good place to do that. A top-five finish or better would be nice.”

A top-five finish would be right in character for Sprague who has averages of fifth place starting and fourth place finishing in five truck series races at Bristol.

“I know how to get around this track,” said Sprague of the ultra-fast .533-mile oval. “I don’t know what it is, but we usually ended up hitting the nail right on the head in the truck series at Bristol, so I don’t see any reason for it to be any different for the Busch race.”

Sprague owns a trio of Busch Series starts at Bristol, the first coming in the 1990 Johnson 250. He also has a NASCAR Winston Cup Series start at the track—the 1997 Food City 500.

While Sprague’s hard-charging style will serve him well at Bristol, his experience might be what gets his NetZero Chevy to the front.

“I love racing at Bristol,” Sprague stated. “You have to be both aggressive and patient. If your car is handling good, you’ll have a good day of racing. If the car’s not handling well, then it will seem like the longest day of your life.

“The success we have been able to have at Bristol is pretty cool considering how tough of a track it can be.”

The Food City 250 will take the green flag on Friday, August 23 at 8 p.m. EDT. The 24th of 34 Busch Series races this season will be broadcast live on TNT and PRN Radio.

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