Thomas “Moose” Praytor wheeled the ARCA Mobile 200/DK-LOK Chevy from 34th to second in the Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real at Daytona International Speedway. Praytor took the lead on a restart until the transmission broke sending him tumbling back through the field relegating the Max Force/Hixson Motorsports team to a 31st place finish.
Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway got off to a slow start for Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his Max Force/Hixson Motorsports team with the ARCA Mobile 200/DK-LOK Chevy looking for speed on the speed chart from the first practice session.
“We were really disappointed during practice, we had a lot more speed in our ARCA Mobile 200/DK-LOK Chevy during the test,” said Praytor. “Our guys never let up and we kept working. We got some of the speed back for qualifying but had to use happy hour on Saturday morning to keep looking for speed in the draft.”
Starting 34th with five top 10 cars that were disqualified after qualifying behind you, there are several strategy options, go with that group on the start or wait until after the first big wreck and then go. As luck would have it Maryeve Dufault’s spotter, former ARCA driver and current Cup spotter, Rick Carelli and the Moose’s spotter are longtime friends and the pair struck a deal to hang out drafting together until after the first big wreck. “Maryeve did a great job drafting and we tried it several different ways, her pushing or me in the back to find out which way was fastest when it was time to go.”
The race laid out to plan and the big wreck happened letting Praytor and Dufault leap frog from 20th to the front row using pit strategy. “We ended up on the front row and I felt really good about our chances, we knew we could draft with Mary Eve if I got hung out but I was looking for a big push from Dylan (Kwasniewski) and Grant (Enfinger) who were lined up behind me in my lane.” The new double file ARCA restart format allows the outside row to go when the leader fires allowing the outside lane to pass before the start finish line leaving Praytor in a typical Mobile International Speedway shootout position and the short track racer took advantage. “I heard her hit the gas and I was already rolling pretty good and I felt like I had her cleared when I shifted to fourth and our race was over.” The transmission broke and while the shifter would go in fourth gear it wouldn’t engage ending the Moose’s day. “Just a sick feeling, the guys behind me did a really good job getting around me without causing a huge wreck.”
“Congratulations to Grant Enfinger, Howard (Bixman car owner) and the entire Team BCR Team, those guys really had a great weekend. Proud of our team, we have some new guys and everybody worked their butts off, they never gave up. Can’t thank everyone enough that came on board to help with tires. Really appreciate DK-LOK stepping up to take up a big role in our Daytona effort.”
Praytor has now run second in the last three restrictor plate races. Next up for the Max Force/Hixson Motorsports team is the ARCA Mobile 200 on March 22.