All season, Chris Bailey has been doing the yeoman’s job of being Max Force Racings back up for Thomas “Moose” Praytor and testing different combinations for the #9 DK-LOK Ford. On Friday car owner Tommy Praytor had another plan.
“Chris has been doing an awesome job for our race team all year in a crappy job. He’s like an NFL number 2 quarterback, he gets to practice and work hard on new ideas and then gets very little game time. Every week Chris and his Dad travel thousands of miles to be part of our team and every week without complaint,” said owner Tommy Praytor.
Bailey put his #23 DK-LOK Ford through its paces in practice and gave back valuable intel to the team that made the #9 DK-LOK Ford faster.
“It’s been really rewarding to get in quality cars, give feedback and be part of the team,” said Bailey.
Bailey qualified 21st and prepared to make a few laps of live testing during the ModSpace 150 and come in.
After a few laps, team owner Praytor came over the radio and told spotter Chris Sr. to keep him on the track.
“I was happy just getting to make laps 2, 5 or 10 I was all good and then Dad told me to stay out. He could probably see me smiling from the spotters stand, said Bailey.”
The laps clicked off and with each caution Bailey remained on the track and was picking up positions.
“Chris was doing a great job, he was passing cars and really looking good on the track. I had a plan for Chris to go the distance but I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed if it didn’t work out, everything needed to fall just right and it was all going our way.”
At the halfway point Bailey was called to pit road for fuel and a track bar adjustment.
“I still hadn’t been told how long I was going to run but getting gas was a good sign Tommy planned on keeping me out for a while.”
Back under green Bailey was only a lap down with 3 other cars and was clipping off lap times within tenths of each other. The team owner tweeted from the pit box Bailey was going to try to go the distance but still hadn’t told his driver.
“Tommy came on the radio and started giving me a lot of information, who was on my lap, what our lap times were, who we might could catch and who was never going to catch us. He still didn’t say how long we running but I could tell from his voice this was a different deal,” offered Bailey.
Laps were clicking off and finally with 15 to go Bailey got the word to conserve his tires if he wanted to go the distance.
“I couldn’t believe it, still can’t,” said Bailey.
Bailey would bring his #23 DK-LOK Ford across the finish line in 16th position, his best finish at Pocono and 2nd best career finish.”
“Really pumped, can’t thank the Praytor’s enough for the opportunity to live a dream at Pocono. The guys on the team worked their butts off to get this car as good as it was and in the show. Days like today are a lesson for everyone working to be in this sport, keep digging, keep working and good things will happen.”
As for the team owner, well Bailey’s smile was the second biggest at Pocono.
Bailey will be back behind the wheel of the DK-LOK Ford at Berlin Raceway Saturday night.