After a crash course on dirt racing in Springfield a couple of weeks ago, Thomas “Moose” Praytor was looking forward to the return to dirt racing this weekend at the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care at the DuQuoin State Fair.
After a few get to know you laps at the Magic Mile, the ARCA Scotts Rookie of the Year Candidate was showing some dirt skills that put Praytor inside the top 20 on the speed chart during the one and only practice session of the day.
Praytor said, “Mr. Wayne (Hixson) put the whip to me on the radio today and his coaching really paid off as our Realtor Chevy got faster after every run.
The ever changing track conditions of the dirt was tough for me to keep up with. We’d get the car where I liked it and 10 minutes later the track would dry out some and I never got in a position where I was comfortable.”
Qualifying did not go as planned for the Realtor car as the track turned to the tight side and the Moose had a lot of ARCA cars in front of him. With such poor track position the team utilized the parade laps to adjust and change a tire on the Realtor machine before the drop of the green flag to help free the car up.
The strategy paid off for the Hixson/Max Force effort as the Moose quickly rumbled from the tail end of the field of the 30 plus car field in to the top 20. He said, “Our Realtor Chevy was really fun to drive on short runs we were able to make up some ground and pass a lot of cars. The deeper we went in to the run the tight would come back and eventually I’d burn the right rear off trying to make it turn. The guys did a great job on pit road keeping right rears on our Realtor machine but we just missed the balance some and my lack of experience on dirt didn’t help us. We had a solid points day but I can’t help to feel like we had a better car than what we showed today.”
No rest in the shop this week as the team has a short week before heading to Iowa for the Prairie Meadows 150 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday with live coverage from Fox Sports.