The DK-LOK team traveled to the Bluegrass State looking to improve at a track that Thomas “Moose” Praytor had only turned laps on twice before. Off the trailer the DK-LOK Ford was solid qualifying 22nd in a 36 car field littered with Xfinity Drivers doing double duty at Kentucky Speedway. The Crosley Brands 150 was interrupted by a brief rain delay and the DK-LOK team took advantage of the cautions to bring home a 16th place finish, a career best at Kentucky.
Kentucky Speedway is one of the few tracks on the tour that Thomas “Moose” Praytor has very few laps on and has raced at only twice. In addition to not having turned many laps at Kentucky the track surface itself is filled with bumps and is one of the hardest to handle.
“We worked hard in the shop on putting together a shock and spring combination that would help handle the bumps. I know it sounds kind of crazy spending so much time on the bumps but when your car is bouncing around at 160 miles per hour the bumps can cause you to have a really bad day really quick,” said Praytor.
The hours of work in the shop paid off with the DK-LOK Ford handling the bumps and in his 3rd appearance at Kentucky the Moose was finally comfortable inside the car.
In a field filled with NASCAR Xfinity drivers doing double duty the DK-LOK Ford would roll off 22nd in a 36 car field.
A lap 1 caution created a unique opportunity for the team to start working a fuel mileage strategy that could pay off at the end of the race. As the field was given the 1 to go signal after the wreck was cleared up the DK-LOK Ford ducked back on pit road to top off with Sunoco fuel giving the Ford 10 more laps of fuel than the rest of the field.
Back under green the field strung out with the leaders clicking off lap times faster than qualifying. The rain that pushed the race from Friday night to Saturday returned on lap 44. Needing to complete 50 laps for it to be an official race the field was left on the race track while the pits were opened for pit stops.
The rain played in to the fuel strategy started at the beginning of the race and the DK-LOK Ford was able to stay on track while everyone else had to pit for fuel. The move allowed the team to stay on track taking the wave around to get back on the lead lap.
Back under green the team needed a caution within 20 laps for the gamble to pay off and on que the caution flag flew when needed. Praytor brought the DK-LOK Ford to pit road for a full tank of Sunoco fuel and four fresh Hoosier tires.
It was going to be a run to the checkers with fresh tires but the new set of Hoosiers didn’t act like the first set and the DK-LOK Ford was tight (wouldn’t turn) and getting tighter with every lap.
“We had laid down a lot of rubber that the light rain didn’t wash off and with fresh tires our DK-LOK Ford just had too much grip.”
The Crosley Brands 150 would stay green until the finish not giving the team an opportunity to bring the Ford to pit road and make the adjustments needed to free up the DK-LOK machine. The Moose would bring the Ford home in the 16th position.
“It was a solid day for our race team. By far this was the best DK-LOK Ford we’ve had at Kentucky. Our fuel mileage strategy paid off, our guys did a good job on pit road and the cautions fell were we needed them to we just needed one more there at the end to get the balance back in our car. We’ll use the same car at Kansas so it gives our team a little more confidence headed out west.”
Team DK-LOK is 8th in the ARCA Championship standings fighting to stay in the top 10 with 1 race left on the schedule.