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

Six Area Players Voted To TSWA Girls All-State Team

Six Chattanooga-area players have been voted to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association girls all-state high school basketball team. Voted to the team were Bradley Central's Rhyne Howard, McMinn Central's Jacobi Lynn, Meigs County's Taylor Boggess, Signal Mountain's Aryn Sanders and Baylor's Kaleigh Clemons and Mya Long. 2015-16 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Girls ... (click for more)

Baylor Netters Top GPS, 7-0

I n the first Baylor-GPS tennis match three weeks ago, Baylor coach Dustin Kane was not happy with the execution of his players in singles even though the Red Raiders won all six matches. Wednesday at Baylor, the seventh year coach was much more pleased with the outcome as the hosts won all six singles matches in straight sets on the way to a 7-0 triumph against GPS. The Bruisers ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke Pledges $6 Million For New Recreation Center At Avondale

Mayor Andy Berke announced Thursday that he plans to include $6 million in his upcoming budget for a new Recreation Center at Avondale. He said at a press conference at the current center on Dodson Avenue, "We want to make an investment in Avondale." Mayor Berke said the current center by Wilcox Boulevard was built in 1949 and last remodeled in 2002. The new center, which ... (click for more)

Developer Plans Single-Family Homes, Townhomes, Apartments, Retail On 7.5 Acres At South Broad Street

A developer is planning single-family homes, apartments, townhomes and retail on a 7.5-acre South Broad Street site. The development by South Broad LLC and DEW LLC is located within several blocks between South Broad Street, W. 26th Street, Long Street and W. 27th Street. It would include a 3-story U-shaped apartment building with ground floor retail at the north end of the ... (click for more)

Thankful For The Vital Role Teachers Played In My Life

Re: Roy Exum: Teachers Day Tomorrow Roy, I am especially appreciative of your poignant column written in tribute to teachers.  It made me tear up, as I have encountered both as a student and a career educator-- teachers like the second-grade teacher who said, "I wish you were my little girl" and teachers like Mrs. Poindexter.   My teachers have played such a vital ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The DA’s Cold-Case Quest

It is clearly a job nobody can do for over an hour or two, but Neal Pinkston, working in hand with precise professionals from the county’s auditing department, is intent on doing the right thing. As I watched a revolving team of four people at a time open and study envelopes of autopsy photographs on Tuesday, the scene would have made a fascinating television documentary. But ... (click for more)