The final short track race of the season brought a huge field of 34 cars to the quiet town of Salem, Indiana for the Fall Classic. The DK-LOK team brought a fresh chassis, “Carlos” that was wicked fast from the first lap of practice. Thomas “Moose” Praytor wheeled the DK-LOK Ford with the leaders until a cut right front tire pancaked Carlos’s right side. The DK-LOK team never gave up getting their Ford back on the lead lap and coming up with an 18th place finish.
After being roughed up in Winchester Chassis RK-500 was brought back to the DK-LOK shop in Mobile, Alabama. Michael Richardson rebuilt the body, RK 500 was sent over to Cockrell’s Paint and Body for the finishing touches and one of Ben’s world class paint jobs. With the blue wrap gone and the familiar black and white DK-LOK paint scheme RK 500 was renamed “Carlos” for Carlos Lira of Lira Motorsports where the car came from.
While Cockrell’s gave Carlos a face lift the team took the short track car down to the chassis and rebuilt it in preparation for the final short track race of the season. “We knew we had a really good car in Winchester and the guys made it better in the shop for Salem,” said Praytor.
The Fall Classic at Salem Speedway is not only the final short track race of the season but also the final race of the Calypso Short Track Challenge. Everyone brought their best short track car and everyone came to race with a large 34 car field.
Carlos was quick off the trailer and the Moose was rumbling around the craggy old short track faster than the DK-LOK Ford had ever been at Salem. “All the hours of preparation in the shop paid off at the track. Joe Cooksey was hard at work again on our DK-LOK Ford chassis during both practice sessions and it showed as we picked up speed and we kept handling better each time out.”
The first 20 cars qualified within half a second of each other and the DK-LOK Ford would roll off 18th. The field jumped out to a blistering pace with the top 20 lapping cars within the first 10 laps.
“Everybody was hauling the mail from jump street, we were having a lot of fun racing hard and bouncing off of each other.”
The DK-LOK Ford was holding its own inside the top 20 when on lap 70 the right front tire blew slamming the Moose into the turn 3 wall.
“It was a big hit, I thought our night was done. I limped our DK-LOK Ford back to pit road and our guys went to work on getting back in action.”
On pit road the team was facing 2 cut tires and the entire right side of the car pancaked flat. The team got the DK-LOK Ford back in action with only losing 1 lap. With each caution the team kept working and the DK-LOK Ford rallied back to the lead lap.
The hit not only crushed the right side of the car but it also knocked the steering out of line about an inch making the DK-LOK Ford hard to steer. “Even with all that was going on we still had a decent car but once I chewed up the right front tire we weren’t able to keep up with the leaders anymore.”
After falling almost to the end of the 34 car field the DK-LOK Ford rallied back to an 18th place finish.
“We started the year off strong with our short track program with a couple of top 10s and even though we didn’t hit the top 10 in Salem, our DK-LOK Ford was really strong. I’m proud of our team and their never say die attitude. We all kept digging all night.”
A short week in Mobile before the team heads to Kentucky Speedway for the Crosley Brands 150 on Friday night.