A new Chassis, “BUBBA” and a rare run on the dirt had Thomas “Moose’ Praytor and his DK-LOK Team ready for action in Springfield, Illinois. The DK-LOK Ford was fast off the trailer timing in 13th in a rain shortened practice. When the green flag flew BUBBA raced his way into the top 10 and battled there most of the day until the left rear came off on lap 85 (see video link below). With a big save from 4 other pit crews BUBBA only lost a lap and the DK-LOK Ford salvaged a 16th place finish.
With a rare weekend off after Berlin the DK-LOK team had time to work on a specialty dirt car for Springfield and DuQuoin, nick named, BUBBA. BUBBA has already had a distinguished dirt career at Kimmel Motorsports before arriving at our Max Force shop in Mobile, Alabama. The Crimson colored Ford seemed like a natural fit for a race team from Alabama headed to a horse track doubling as a racetrack in the middle of the Illinois State Fair!
There are special setups and parts for dirt racing that most fans can’t see but what they can see is the deflector on the hood and the extra screen on the nose. The screen is to help keep dirt/mud out of the radiator letting it keep the motor cool. The deflector on the hood has the same kind of job keeping dirt/mud from getting on the windshield where the driver can see. Both can be seen on the picture of the DK-LOK Ford above. Basically racing on dirt is a whole new kind of animal for teams used to asphalt racing.
When it comes to dirt drivers fall into 2 categories, they either hate it or love it and there is not much in between. “I really have fun on the dirt, I’m not very good at it but this year we made a special effort to have a dirt car just for these 2 races and I felt good about our DK-LOK Ford going into the weekend,” said Praytor.
The good feeling carried over to the rain shortened practice session on Sunday morning with the Mobile, Alabama driver clocking in the 13th position. “We improved 2 and half seconds over last year’s times with a motor package that is not as strong as last years but a really nice DK-LOK Ford.”
Rain washed out qualifying and the Moose would roll off 14th based on owner’s points. With the drop of the green flag the Moose was on the charge catching competitors, setting them up for the pass and putting them in his rear view mirror. The DK-LOK Ford was now turning lap times another second quicker in the race and giving the top 10 a run for their money.
“We really had a great DK-LOK Ford and I was feeling really comfortable on the dirt for the first time but I nearly got us into big trouble a couple of times pressing the cushion just a little too far and I nearly hit the fence.”
On Lap 85 running 11th the left rear tire on the DK-LOK Ford decided to leave the race car. Click link for video from CBS Sports Network:
“I thought we had tire going down but in reality it was coming off. I was headed to pit road but just couldn’t get there.” Stranded at one end of pit road with his pit box at the other end of pit road it was time for another ARCA family moment.
Spontaneously the 4 teams that BUBBA came to rest in front sprung to action. A dozen or so guys lifted the car up to get a jack under it then another crew returned the tire from the track and without losing a lap had the DK-LOK Ford headed back out to the track.
“It was really incredible I had all these guys working on my car, Lira Motorpsorts, Cunningham Motorsports, Sarah Cornett-Ching’s Racing 101 crew and Wayne Hixson’s guys were all working on getting back out, really a cool deal. Can’t thank those teams enough for helping us out we would have been sunk without them.”
It looked like the Moose was going to stay on the lead lap but the ARCA Series officials were waiting for the Mobile, Alabama driver at pit road exit holding Thomas and BUBBA a penalty lap for pitting outside of their pit box.
“I was pretty upset at the time but when you look at the video there really wasn’t much that was done properly during that stop, we missed our box by let’s say the length of pit road, there were combinations of 4 teams working on the car, I think we counted 14 people at one point, it was a mess we were lucky to just lose 1 lap. It could only happen in our ARCA Series, I think that’s why so many people come to watch us race, it’s still fun. That scene was straight out of Days of Thunder.”
With just a few laps left BUBBA scrambled back to 16th but not the finish Team DK-LOK was looking for.
“On the negative side I think we had a top 10 finish get away from us today but there was just so much good that happened it’s hard to even think about the negative. We took a new DK-LOK Ford that had never been to the track and with 20 minutes of practice we were able to compete in and around the top 10 all day. I just think it speaks volumes for our race team and the quality of cars we are bringing to the track from our shop in Mobile. Really proud of our whole team and looking forward to DuQuoin.”
Next up another dirt track, the Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fair on Labor Day September 7th at 1:30.
Pictures: BUBBA in a power slide at Springfield under the Ferris Wheel, From CBS Sports Network 4 team stop on DK-LOK Ford.