Sunday's running of the Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200 has been circled on the Hixson Motorsports/Max Force Racing calendar since the beginning of the ARCA Series presented by Menards season. Scotts Rookie of the contender Thomas “Moose” Praytor had actually turned laps at the track before and the layout is similar to Mobile International Speedway, Praytor’s home track.
The weekend started with an appearance at race central in Madison, Wisconsin-Club LaMark.
“To say Wisconsin has some avid race fans would be an understatement,” offered Praytor. “Everyone at Club Lamark has a racing story and not just a regular story but one that involves greats like Matt Kenseth, Dick Trickle and there were a few about Mobile’s Rick Carwford. It was my second time to be asked to the prerace festivities and hope they invite me back every time I get a chance to race in Madison.”
While Club Lamark started the race weekend the team had been preparing for weeks in the shop even saving their favorite work horse chassis “Pooh” for Madison. “We spent a lot of time on Pooh really updating and preparing for this weekend. Off the trailer the changes were drastic and “Pooh” was really good.”
At the end of the first practice “Pooh” developed a transmission leak that would cost the team the second practice repairing. “We got lucky on the transmission in practice but it cost us the fine tuning we needed in the second practice for qualifying.” Praytor would time in 17th just one spot off last year’s qualifying effort with Venturini Motorsport.
“Missing that last practice cost us in qualifying but we knew we had a good Realtor car.”
With the drop of the green flag the Moose was on the charge but it didn’t take long and the Realtor Chevy started to fall back. “My heart just sunk our motor was going south and it was really early in the race. Not only were we on 7 cylinders we had 170 laps to go and the water temperature was climbing with every lap. We caught a couple of early cautions and we were able to get our Realtor machine on the cool down unit but we were still on 7 cylinders.”
While the Hixson Motorsports/Max Force team was fighting an ill motor Venturini Motorsport’s Kyle Benjamin was setting a torrid pace and the race went 130 green flag laps to the end. Praytor and the Realtor car would settle for a 14th place finish.
“Our guys worked hard all weekend and it tells you how far this team has come that a 14th place finish leaves a bad taste in our mouth. Congratulations to Kyle Benjamin - he won his first late Model race in Mobile. Our Realtor Chevy really responded to the changes we made in the shop and we’re pumped up about Salem in a couple of weeks. Next week we go back to the dirt and after the great car we had in Springfield we’re looking forward to DuQuoin.”
Next up is the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on Monday, Labor Day, Sept. 2.