Chicagoland Speedway has not been kind to Thomas “Moose” Praytor over the last 4 seasons but this year the team had a new car and a new attitude fueled by their success during the 2016 season.
For the final 3 races, RK486 “Black Betty” had been completely redone since it’s last outing over a year ago with a new body and a new car underneath.
The new car fought the team during practice, a new-transmission, steering box along with a laundry list of changes after practice and the Project Semi Colon Ford was ready for qualifying. The hard work paid off and the Ford Fusion picked up over a second qualifying 22nd.
All of the changes and repairs after practice made the Project Semi Colon late for the inline time and instead of starting 22nd would have to fall back to the tail end of the 35 car field to start the race.
“A lot of work went into this car and it paid off the first laps on the track. A lot of stability with the new body (Greg) Purkey put on for us made it easy to drive over the bumps.”
Praytor wasn’t the only driver taking up the tail end of the SCOTT 150, another Ford, the 99 of Austin Cendric was late for in line time and the pair of Fords would be shotgun on the field.
With Tab Boyd on the roof the Ford duo took to the high side of the track and started slicing their way to the front.
“Had a lot of fun those first couple of laps with Austin, his Ford was bad fast.” Within a few laps the Project Semi Colon Ford was inside the top 20.
An early caution had the Moose come to pit road to top off with Sunoco fuel and on the restart the normal bottom feeding driver was back at the top of the track picking up spots.
On lap 30 the 52 lost a side window and the Project Semi Colon Ford was brought to pit road for 4 General Tires, Sunoco fuel and a track bar adjustment trying to free the Ford up in the corners. The guys had a solid stop, made the changes and the Moose was down and away, ready for a long green flag run.
40 plus green flag laps a caution for Shane Lee let the field come back to pit road. “Our Project Semi Colon Ford just kept getting tighter (wouldn’t turn) as the night went on.”
This time the Moose would get 4 fresh Generals and a full load of Sunoco plus a track bar change and a wedge change. Back under green Betty really didn’t like the changes and the Moose had his hands full but was still making progress.
By lap 100 Praytor had worked his way up to 15th a career best at Chicagoland.
“Really a solid night for our team, the guys had great stops, Tab did an awesome job from the roof. I’m really not comfortable at the top of the track but we kept creeping up there. Really proud to carry the Project Semi Colon colors one more time, Amy and her group do an awesome job. It was a good points night for us, Josh and his guys ran into some trouble early. We have a lot of ground to pick up to catch him but we aren’t going to give up until the checkered flag falls in Kansas.”
After 3 races in 11 days the team has a long week in Mobile before heading to Kentucky Speedway for the Crosley Brands 150 Friday night live on Fox Sports 2.