As one of only four drivers who have competed in every ARCA Mobile 200, Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his DK-LOK Team rolled in to the Moose’s home town looking for a good day and ended up with a career day.
Praytor and his DK-LOK team spent two days testing last week that paid off when Fridays practice and qualifying were rained out. With only a short 30 minute practice session on race day the DK-LOK team was ready to go.
ARCA autograph sessions are always big, autograph session at your home track get massive. “There is nothing like racing in Mobile, the fans are awesome,” said Praytor.
Qualifying was rained out, the field was set by owner’s points and the DK-LOK Ford would roll off 4th. “We felt like we had a pretty good car but we knew tire management would be the key to a solid finish.”
With the drop of the green flag the DK-LOK Ford settled in to the top 10 and started logging laps. At the 50 lap mark the leaders came to pit road while Tom Hessert and Praytor stayed on track running 1-2.
Under green the DK-LOK Ford made it back to the stripe first and was credited with leading a lap. It didn’t take long for fresh tires to overtake the pair who stayed out and Praytor was shuffled out of the top 5.
With a caution, on lap 70 Praytor came in for 2 right side tires, a spring rubber and fuel. “I felt like Superman when we went green with fresh tires.” Back on track the Moose and his DK-LOK Ford were rumbling to the front passing up to eventual race winner Grant Enfinger before the caution flag flew again.
“Our 2 tires worked for 10 laps and then our DK-LOK Ford got tight and kept getting tighter.” Just past the half way mark Praytor brought the DK-LOK machine to pit road for 4 tires and a full load of Sunoco fuel.”.
“We took 4 tires sooner than we wanted to but our DK-LOK Ford just didn’t like taking just 2.” (The ARCA Series limits the numbers of tires that can be used at Mobile to 6).
With 4 fresh Hoosiers the Moose was on the move and quickly worked his way back into the top 5. Knowing the rest of the leaders would get new tires later tire conservation was the name of the game.
“I tried to save all I could but by lap 175 we just didn’t have anything left for the leaders. We came back down pit road to put back on the 2 tires that only had 30 laps on them and our DK-LOK Ford really didn’t like just 2 again.”
With an ill handling Ford the Moose was looking for a caution and he was almost it. With 10 laps to go the left rear started to go flat and Praytor was doing all he good to keep his Ford pointed in the right direction. “We limped around looking for a caution and got it just when we needed it.”
The DK-LOK team recycled the original set of 4 tires that were on the car and sent the Moose back out to finish. The ARCA Mobile 200 has gone into overtime (the ARCA Series will not finish under caution) before and the 2015 edition would take 205 laps to complete with the Praytor and his DK-LOK Ford finishing 7th, a career best for Praytor.
“Just an incredible day for our DK-LOK team. We put a lot of pressure on our pit crew in their first race of the year as a unit and they did an awesome job. Led our first ARCA lap at my home track in front of our Mobile fans that are incredible. We had a great crowd at the DK-LOK hospitality tent really appreciate all of their support. Glad Will (Kimmel) is OK that’s a long rough ride off turn 1. Congratulations to Grant Enfinger, everybody needs to Fear the Finger! As a new race team today is like a win for our DK-LOK Team.”
The Moose and his Talladega DK-LOK Ford Fusion will be at the newest Fausak Tires Express Lube this Saturday from 10-2.
Next race-Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway April 11.
DK-LOK Ford taking the lead in front of the home town crowd at Mobile International Speedway.
Praytor signing autographs during the Mobile Sport Authority Autograph session.
DK-LOK Ford racing with Tom Hessert.
First time in real time the DK-LOK -pit crew changing tires.
The Moose with Momma Moose and Granny Moose taking in her first race.