Flat Tire-Broken Sway Bar Costly For Praytor And Realtor Car

Monday, August 19, 2013
Ashley Rowe
Ashley Rowe

The carnival atmosphere surrounding the Illinois State Fair was the perfect backdrop for Hixson's Thomas “Moose” Praytor to make his first dirt start in almost 14 years. By returning to the 1 mile dirt oval for the 51st Allen Crowe Memorial 100 the ARCA Series presented by Menards continues to prove itself as the most versatile driving series in the world with its first of 2 races on dirt, that follow road courses, superspeedways, Speedways and a healthy dose of short tracks.

A one hour practice session in the morning was all Praytor and the Hixson/Max Force Team had to dial in the Realtor Chevy before Menards Pole Qualifying and racing in the afternoon. “My first few laps were interesting but that’s where Mr. Wayne’s (Hixson) 30 plus years of dirt track experience really paid off after we made a few laps,” said Praytor. “Our Realtor Chevy was really close off the trailer which helped me tremendously. By the time practice was over I felt like we were even closer with the driver still needing some more time.”

Qualifying 23rd out of the 37 cars at Illinois was a solid start to a first time dirt effort and with the drop of the green flag Praytor was on his way up through a crowded field. “I’m used to traffic but the dirt and not being able to see was new. I slowed down one time because I couldn’t see and gave up some spots. My spotter (Dad) asked what was wrong and I said I couldn’t see and my Dad in his usual voice-“Well @%$  %$#@$ they can’t see either you got to go!” For the rest of the race I just counted in my head the time past the start finish line about where I thought I was to let off the gas and then mashed the gas when I got to the middle of the guard rail. We didn’t hit anything so it was pretty good day from that perspective.”

After a move towards the front the Realtor Chevy started to lose ground to the leaders then started giving back positions to the cars it had just passed. “I could feel the right front go away a little on each corner until it just wouldn’t turn anymore. We were able to stay out long enough to catch a caution and the guys changed the right side tires on our Realtor car and we were back on the move.”

Even with the flat it looked the Realtor car was headed to a solid finish until Praytor started reporting the right front was going flat again. “Our Realtor car just wouldn’t turn anymore again and I thought we had another flat.” Under the next caution Praytor brought the Realtor Chevy back to the attention of his Hixson/Max Force team and 2 more tires.

Back under green tires didn’t help and the Realtor car had to come to pit road under green flag conditions. “We hated coming in under green but we were in trouble.” This stop the team got under the hood and quickly found out the issue was the heim joint that holds the sway bar on had been ground down with first flat and was now completely broken. “We went from having a good day to just hanging on and finished the last third of the race without any sway bar. Our Realtor Chevy was so good we were still passing cars even without the bar. We’ll get another shot at the dirt in DuQuoin in a couple of weeks.” 

Praytor and the Realtor car finished 22nd.

“It’s been an emotional couple of days for our Realtor family in Alabama with the loss of Mr. Philip (Lasater Executive Officer of the Alabama Real Estate Commission). Once we said we were running the PL stickers on the Realtor car this weekend, emails, facebook and texts messages have been coming in from all over the state. It’s been an honor for me to part of the special tribute.”

“Our last few finishes have not been as good as we thought they should have been but we have been able to maintain our position in the Championship standings. Tonight the Illinois State Fair is having the group Journey on the stage at the track. As we were loading the hauler they were warming up with Don’t Stop Believing, that’s all I can say about our race team.”



- Photo2 by Ashley Rowe

PHOTOS: Lady Wildcats Down Silverdale

Dalton To Host Cross Country Meet Friday At Prater’s Mill

Dalton State cross country teams will open the 2015 season this Friday, Sept. 4, hosting the first ever local meet.  The Dalton State Twilight Cross Country Classic will begin with a 5K women’s event at 5:00 p.m. and end with an 8K men’s race at 6:00 p.m. “We are very excited to host the first Dalton State cross country meet,” Roadrunner Co-Coach Andy Meyer said. “The ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Seeking Court Approval To Sell Trenton Family Practice For $350,000

Hutcheson Medical Center, continuing to make cost-cutting measures, is seeking court approval to sell the Trenton Family Practice at Trenton, Ga., for $350,000. Ted Rumley, county executive for Dade County, said the medical center is so important for the county that officials have arranged for the Dade County Industrial Development Authority to buy it. He said arrangements ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Says Chattanooga Shooting Was Illustration Of "Islam Terrorism"

"Communism with a god.” That’s how Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond sees Islam.   He also said Muslims are aiming to overtake Tennessee. He said, "They want Tennessee. They are building mosques as fast as they can."   In an address to the Pachyderm Club on Monday, Sheriff Hammond spoke again to the community on the effects of radical Islam and the dangers ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Is Right On The Muslim Threat

Sheriff Hammond is exactly correct on the Muslims in Tennessee.  He sees with clear eyes the problem with the Muslims in our state and country.  They do want to take over Tennessee.  Our politicians are selling us down the river and allowing the trouble makers to dig in like tics and suck out the life's blood of our Constitution and take us over.  They ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My September Garden

As we begin the annual pilgrimage into fall, I walk through my garden and, in the spirit of Orchids and Onions, I see colorful mums starting to flower at the same time dried-up weeds are begging to be pulled. So as we turn the calendar to September, here are some things that catch my eye: A COLORFUL MUM to Chattanooga State for unveiling the Michael Hennen Hospitality Center in ... (click for more)