MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Jack Sprague raced to his first victory
of the season and the 26th of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
career, holding off rookie Eric Darnell by 0.251 seconds Saturday
night in the O'Reilly 200.
Sprague, a three-time series champion, won for the first time
since June 2005 at Texas and became the first driver to win two
truck races at Memphis Motorsports Park. It was also the first win
for his Wyler Racing Toyota team.
"It's been a long time and I wanted it bad," he said, "It's a
new team, and we've been so close. But now they know what it feels
like to win. The spring in the step is different and hopefully it
will bring more."
After a late pit incident took Dennis Setzer out of the picture,
Sprague had to work his way around Darnell following the final
round of pit stops in the last 20 laps.
Sprague passed Darnell at lap 193, but after a late spin by Aric
Almirola forced a green-white-checker overtime finish, Sprague
showed his experience on the restart. He allowed Darnell to tap his
bumper, then took off, leaving Darnell to briefly spin his wheels.
"I overdrove the car there," Darnell said. "I think if I had
3-4 more laps I could've run him down. My truck was great on longer
Matt Crafton finished third and two other former series
champions, Ron Hornaday and Mike Bliss, rounded out the top five.
Sprague started from the pole and dominated most of the race,
only to have Setzer take the lead going into both rounds of pit
"I'd be great for 40-50 laps and then my truck would get tight
and Dennis had me," Sprague said.
Setzer, the points runner-up the past three years and a past
winner at Memphis, appeared to be in position to control the race
down the stretch, but ran into trouble on a pit stop after a
caution for debris on the 175th lap.
As Setzer came into his stall, Kevin Grubb's pit crew pit put
down their sign in the stall in front before Setzer came past. His
truck got tangled in it, forcing a pit delay that dropped him to
"The 15 sign was down low and they dropped it underneath my
truck when I came by," Setzer said. "When they went to jack my
truck up, it was caught up there underneath the truck and when they
tried to jack up the truck, it slipped off. An unfortunate deal."
Points leader Todd Bodine struggled to a 15th-place finish, but
still came out of the race 117 points ahead of David Reutimann.
Johnny Benson, who entered the race in the second spot, got involved in
two separate incidents, and finished 32nd, falling one spot to
third, 163 points back.
The average speed of the race, slowed by seven caution flags,
was 88.365 mph.
Sprague gained a share of the series career record for poles,
taking the top spot with a lap of 117.529 mph around the
three-quarter-mile Memphis oval.
It was the first pole of the season for Sprague and the 28th of
his career, equaling the mark held by Mike Skinner.
Kelly Sutton, who races while battling multiple sclerosis, sat
out her second consecutive event while feeling the effects of
injuries suffered in a crash July 1 at Kansas Speedway.
Brad Keselowski, who finished 30th last week filling in for
Sutton at Kentucky Speedway, qualified her No. 02 Chevrolet sixth,
the team's best qualifying effort of the season. He finished 16th.
Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell, making his
second NCTS start, spun out on the fifth lap and struggled all
night. He finished 33rd, four laps down.