Hixson's Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his Max Force Racing/Hixson Motorsports team have had the ARCA Mobile 200 circled on their calendar since the close of the 2013 season at Kansas Speedway.
During the off season the team acquired a special short track Roush Chassis 461, nicknamed Black Betty, and a fresh Roush Yates Motor just to improve their chances at Mobile International Speedway.
“Daytona and Talladega are big races but there isn’t a bigger race for our race team than the ARCA Mobile 200,” offered Praytor. “We want to put on a good show in front of our home town fans, so we put a lot of effort in to our Mobile car.”
The first short track race of the year is a lot like Daytona, teams have been working on their cars for months and everyone brings their best piece to Mobile.
Twenty different drivers had tested at the Speedway in preparation for the ARCA Mobile 200 including Praytor. Two days of testing produced a solid balance for the Realtor/Nudraulix Ford and the Mobile/Soddy Daisy team entered race weekend with high expectations.
“Black Betty was a little tight off the hauler and we worked on freeing it up. We went a little too far for qualifying and we made some changes to our Realtor/Nudraulix Ford to start the race.”
Starting 17th, Praytor was on the move with the drop of the green flag. Mobile’s Grant Enfinger dominated the race on his way to winning back to back Juke Boxes. While second through 20th raced hard to see who would be the runner up.
Praytor held his own just outside the top 10 during the early portion of the race and a bad set of tires would put the Moose a lap down during the middle portion of the 200 lap event. With fresh rubber for the last segment of the race, Praytor was on the move getting his lap back and picking up spots on the race track. In a wild green white checkered finish the Moose drove his Realtor/Nudraulix Ford up to 11th finishing on the lead lap.
Praytor said, “We had a tough time getting grip with our Realtor/Nudraulix Ford all day. Our guys worked hard, they never gave up, we kept making changes and with 50 to go Black Betty came to life and we had a really good car. We were better on the long runs, the short restarts and cautions at the end kept us from gaining more spots. Traffic was wild and the racing was insane I hope the fans enjoyed a great show. All in all it was great weekend for our race team, we wanted to move our program up a notch and it showed with our first short track lead lap finish. The fans were incredible this weekend, there is no place like home. Congratulations to Mobile’s Grant Enfinger and Team BCR, those guys are on fire!”