With new sponsorship from Chive Charities powered by GoodBookey Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his team galloped into the Blue Grass State for the Crosley Brands 150 at Kentucky Speedway.
Friday night’s race was the 4th in 19 days and the tight schedule has had the Mobile, Alabama based team working overtime with the Kentucky car being loaded into the hauler at 2AM on Thursday morning.
“The last few weeks we have been wide open in the shop. We’ve thrown everything we have into these last few races trying to stay in the top 5. Just when we think we hit the wall GoodBookey and Chive Charities join our team. You see what these guys are doing and you just get powered back up.”
A new surface awaited the Chive Charities/GoodBookey Ford at Kentucky Speedway and the team had an hour and half to find the right balance.
Our second team ran the Gerhart 5 number in Kentucky and with the number we picked up the help of 8 time Daytona winning crew chief Billy Gerhardt. “Having Mr. Billy with us really gave everyone on the team a lot of confidence figuring out the new surface and the new General tire.”
The first practice laps on the track for the Chive Charities/GoodBookey Ford were solid and each time the team took to the track they were quicker. The Moose would qualify 22nd for the Crosley Brands 150.
With a new General tire the game plan was for Praytor to take it easy for the first segment of the race and check tire wear after the first long run. While the teams plan was conserve the rest of the field didn’t get the memo and the action was wild from the drop of the green flag.
Wild action meant cautions and with each caution the Chive Charities/GoodBookey Ford was on pit road topping off with Sunoco fuel. “We kept getting fuel knowing we would have a long green flag run eventually and we would be able to stay out longer than everyone else.”
Topping off with fuel meant the Chive Charities/GoodBookey machine would have to take up the tail end of the field on every restart, well you can only keep a race horse pinned up so long before he starts to take off.
After being up high on the track in Chicago the Moose took to the high side on the ensuing restarts, at times the Chive Charities/GoodBookey machine was 3 and 4 wide while passing cars in groups not just one at a time.
“Restarts were wild and reminded me of heat races at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. We’d catch some really fast cars sleeping on the restarts and it would take them 5 or 6 laps to catch back up and get by us.”
At lap 30 Praytor brought his machine to the attention of his over the wall crew, 4 General Tires and a load of Sunoco fuel.
Restarts were all the Moose until one of the veterans decided he had enough of being snookered by the Mobile, Alabama driver and shoved the Chive Charity/GoodBookey machine into the outside wall. Praytor fought back keeping from being wrecked but it cost the team damage on the right front and the left front fenders.
Kentucky is an aerodynamic dependent track and the damage to the fenders would knock enough speed out of the Chive Charities/GoodBookey car to limit the Moose’s forward progress.
The team had been here before, wounded but never quitting. On the next caution the team changed 4 General Tires filled her up with Sunoco fuel and worked on the damage to the fenders.
Back under green Praytor wheeled the Chive Charities/GoodBookey machine for all it had but it had a little less than earlier in the race and the Crosley Brands 150 went on along green flag run.
After dodging wrecks and wrestling an ill handling car the Moose was able to scramble back to 14th another career best finish in a year stacked with them.
“Another solid night for our team, we never give up. Exciting to have Chive Charities and GoodBookey on the car there is a lot of excitement surrounding these guys and it’s fun to be a part of it. The fans are off the hook we made the announcement Thursday night and we were getting messages all night and all day from fans. We even had some come by after the race. Really appreciate Billy Gerhart coming down to help us this weekend. We always learn a lot from the veterans of this sports that are willing to share. All in all a solid performance, each week we learn a little more about our new car and we’re really looking forward to Kansas.”
The team has a 3 weeks off before heading to the season finale at Kansas speedway on October 14th at 7:30CST live on Fox sports 1.