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Team NetZero Primed for Darlington

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2002)—Jack Sprague’s last visit to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway could very well have ended in disaster when a Lap 6 crash severely damaged the nose of his No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Fortunately, quick work by his Hendrick Motorsports team got Sprague back on track to salvage a ninth-place finish in the SunCom 200.

This time, Sprague will be looking for more as he and the rest of the NASCAR Busch Series head to the “track too tough to tame” for the South Carolina 200.

“The spring race here was pretty intense,” said Sprague. “There’s no doubt we had a good finish. The car had quite a bit of damage early in the race and I thought we were done, but as usual, the guys did one hell of a job keeping me in it, so I guess we got off easy that day.”

Despite the damage, Sprague’s car was good enough to produce a top-10 finish. Now completely repaired and ready to roll with a new coat of red, black and silver paint, the No. 24 NetZero Chevy has to be considered one of the favorites to win this weekend at Darlington.

“I’m glad we’re bringing back the same car we raced here in the spring because it’s a really good car,” said Sprague, who started 27th in the spring race. “It wasn’t a top qualifier, but hopefully we’ll have a better lap this time around.

“It’s extremely good in race trim. Hopefully, the car will be just as good for us this weekend.”

In all, Sprague has one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and seven Busch Series starts at Darlington Raceway. In addition to the career-best ninth-place finish in the spring, he won the Bud Pole Award at the inaugural Darlington 200 truck series event at the 1.366-mile oval. A threat to win all day, Sprague was second when rain red-flagged the event. A flat tire on pit road during the delay forced him to pit and saddled the team with a 12th-place finish.

“Darlington can be hard on a team’s patience and equipment—maybe she’ll give us a break this time,” said Sprague. “Either way, returning to Darlington should be eventful for us. I’ve had my fair share of starts there, but only a few really good runs. I’ve got a lot of experience there, but need to build on that experience because that’s a key ingredient to a good race and a good finish.”

The South Carolina 200 will take the green flag on Saturday, August 31 at 1 p.m. EDT. The 25th of 34 NASCAR Busch Series races this season will be telecast live on TNT and broadcast on PRN Radio.

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