Daytona Heartbreak - Thomas "Moose" Praytor Breaks Taking Lead

Monday, February 17, 2014
Moose taking the lead at Daytona International Speedway.
Moose taking the lead at Daytona International Speedway.
- photo by Ashley Rowe, official photographer of the ARCA Mobile 200

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. 


Randy Smith: Eric Berry Wins Major Battle

Former Tennessee All-American safety Eric Berry reported today to the Kansas City Chiefs preseason training camp. This comes a little more than eight months since Berry was diagnosed with lymphoma. Berry will be joining the Chiefs' quarterbacks and rookies at a three-day mini camp at Missouri Western State University, with the entire team gathering Saturday for the teams' official ... (click for more)

UTC Names Van Zile Assistant Athletic Director For Development

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics David Blackburn announced the hiring of Troy Van Zile as the Mocs’ Assistant Athletics Director for Development today.  Van Zile joins Chattanooga Athletics after spending the last year as the Executive Vice President of University Development at Impacts Unlimited in Nashville, Tenn.   ... (click for more)

County Taking First Step Toward Replacing County Jail Downtown With Workhouse Addition At Silverdale

County officials are taking the first step toward replacing the long-criticized county jail downtown with an addition at the workhouse at Silverdale. The County Commission is set to approve next Wednesday a $150,000 contract for the PFM government financial consulting firm to begin working out the details. County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he believes the move will save the ... (click for more)

Birchwood Residents Organize To Try To Keep Old School

Birchwood residents have organized to try to keep the old Birchwood School that serves as a community center. Jason Wright, who said he is an alumnus of the school and recently moved his family back home, said the community is concerned over the possibility of the county tearing the school down. He said he was advised that the boiler in the old school has stopped working and ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Could Obama Win Again?

When President Barack Obama spoke to the African Union yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he made a pretty brash statement: “I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” he told the African leaders. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t.” While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don’t think that’s true. Obviously, term limits keep Obama from running, but as I sit ... (click for more)