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Sprague Earns Top-Three Finish at Dover

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 24, 2002)—Jack Sprague charged his No. 24 NetZero Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a third-place finish in Saturday’s MBNA All-American Heroes 200 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The finish marked Sprague’s 14th top-10 of the 2002 season in the NASCAR Busch Series.

“That was one heck of a run for the NetZero team,” said Sprague. “Once again we didn’t have the best qualifying run and ended up starting 28th. The car was great during practice, but we just haven’t hit it yet on those two important laps.

“I couldn’t believe how awesome the car was right from the start. I was able to work my way to the front early on and in pretty good time. It was just a bit tight, but not too bad. ”

Sprague didn’t waste any time wheeling the NetZero Chevy to the front of the pack after his sub-par qualifying effort. The Spring Lake, Mich., driver made his way into the eighth spot when the second caution flag waved on Lap 74. Sprague came in for a four-tire stop, but as he rolled off pit road the left front fender made contact with the No. 48 of Kenny Wallace. The altercation damaged Sprague’s car, but not enough for a return trip down pit road, leaving Sprague to restart seventh.

“The guys did an awesome job during that first pit stop,” said Sprague. “I couldn’t believe it when I got into Kenny. It was just one of those deals. It’s nobody’s fault, but I thought for sure I’d lose the spots I had gained if I had to come in for repairs. Thank god we were okay and continued racing. We really got lucky on that one because it could have cost us the great finish we ended up with.”

The NetZero team made their final performance on Lap 139 as they ripped off a 16.50-second stop, including repairs the front fender. The impressive display of teamwork maintained Sprague’s eighth spot in the running order.

Sprague fought hard to the final caution with two laps to go as his impressive day ended with a third-place finish.

“Dover is no Sunday drive,” he said. “It’s a track you want to start at the front and stay at the front as long as possible because more than likely, things happen and they happen big. We were lucky today that not too much happened and the race had long green flag runs.

“It seemed like we were having one of our typical days—practice good, qualify awful, end up with a great car, but then get caught up in a mess. We were lucky today. That’s all I can say.”

Sprague is currently fourth in Busch Series points, 345 markers behind leader Greg Biffle.

Next up for Sprague and the NetZero Chevy will be the Mr. Goodcents 300 at Kansas Speedway. The event will take the green flag on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. (ET). The 28th of 34 NASCAR Busch Series races this season will be broadcast live on TNT and MRN Radio.

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