Purvis takes O'Reilly 300

Posted: Sunday, April 07, 2002

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Jeff Purvis won the NASCAR Busch O'Reilly 300, leading only the last six laps under caution Saturday after he took just two tires on his final pit stop and was in front when rain put an end to the race.

Purvis was running 10th when the caution flag came out on lap 108 after Kasey Kahne spun out of control at the entrance to pit row.

Soon after the drivers had completed their pits stops, rain began to fall again with the caution flag still flying.

The race, the start of which was delayed 3 1/2 hours by rain, was finally called with just 116 of 200 scheduled laps completed.

When the pits opened after Kahne's spinout, dark skies were again threatening Texas Motor Speedway. Purvis' crew chief, Terry Shirley, opted to take just two tires instead of four like the rest of the front-runners.

Purvis got out the pits first for a race that never went back to green.

''That last call, Terry decided two tires and I wasn't going to question him,'' Purvis said. ''I was praying for rain myself.

"It was a perfect call and worked out great. Even if the race had gone on, we had a good race car.''

It was the fourth career Busch victory for Purvis, whose best finish this year had been 18th at Rockingham, N.C., in the second race of the season.

Jack Sprague, who had taken the lead from polesitter Jeff Green on lap 43 during another caution, finished second after leading 67 of the 116 laps completed.

''We talked about a two-tire deal. But if it didn't rain, we had a position to win,'' said Sprague, the three-time NASCAR truck series champion who had his best Busch finish. ''We did what we had to do.''

Joe Nemechek, who lost his full-time Winston Cup ride when Carter-Haas Motorsports suspended operations last month, finished third in the Busch car that he owns. Rookie Scott Riggs, in a Ford, and Green completed the top five.

Aside from Riggs, the top seven finishers drove Chevrolets, including defending race champion Kevin Harvick in sixth and Randy LaJoie in seventh.

Sprague had another run-in with Jimmy Spencer, even though the two made no contact.

At the end of the race in Bristol, Tenn., two weeks ago, Spencer was trying to make up track position when he wrecked Sprague on the final lap.

On Saturday, Sprague was leading coming out of a caution on lap 66 when Spencer passed him before the green flag. Spencer was black-flagged and had to take a stop-and-go penalty.

''He told me I was going to hate the rest of the year racing with him,'' Sprague said. ''I don't know what the deal is. He went before that line. That's his deal. I had nothing to do with it.''

There were four cautions for 39 laps, including a NASCAR-imposed stop 40 laps into the race to let drivers check tires on the resurfaced 1 1/2-mile track. That slowed the average speed to 102.136 mph, after Green qualified at 193.493 mph.

Because of the new track surface, there was a lot of single-file racing. Green led the first 42 laps before Sprague went in front until almost the end.

Michael Waltrip got knocked out of the race when he car was knocked upside down after being clipped by Lyndon Amick's car that was spinning out of control in Turn 2 on lap 47.

Waltrip went low on the track to avoid Amick, but got caught in a crowd of cars with nowhere to go.

''I don't really know what happened. I slowed down and someone ran over me,'' Waltrip said. ''It wasn't scary. The only thing scary is when you can't see and you're hoping you don't hit anything.''



CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS