It’s not often you can wreck three times at the fastest track on the tour and still finish, but I get ahead of myself.
Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his DK-LOK Team left Pocono Raceway disappointed and with more questions than answer after their first outing with an Ilmor.
With a whole lot of notes, the team collectively put their heads together and started making changes to the DK-LOK Ford at the shop for the Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
“The extra hard work and late nights paid off for Michigan. I’ve never had a car that turned as well as ours did off the trailer.”
On top of handling well the DK-LOK Ford found a lot of speed picking up 3 seconds from last year’s outing at Michigan to qualify 19th.
“Our car was really good but we still needed it to roll the center better to get a really good time. That being said, we were looking forward to the race.”
With the drop of the green flag Praytor and his Ford were moving rapidly towards the front and things were looking good early, then the day slowly started to come unraveled.
The 33 car put oil down in the groove of turns 3 and 4, the Moose was the first on the scene.
“I felt a little something going in and checked up some but by the time I got to the center of the corner my car was gone.”
The DK-LOK Ford was now spinning at 190 MPH and somehow Praytor kept from stuffing the DK-LOK Ford into the wall. The leader was soon in the oil himself and Brandon Jones went through the spin cycle. Both drivers kept their cars in tact.
While the car was saved the tires were done and the Moose came to pit road for 4 fresh General Tires.
Back under green Praytor was making up for lost time passing cars in wholesale fashion working his way back towards the front.
“We had a really good car I was passing guys as fast as I could catch them. I tried to make an outside move off turn 4 and my car got aero tight and I hit the wall.”
Without significant damage Praytor kept digging under green and a few laps later the right front tire went flat. Back to pit road for a new right front, this time under green and it was costly.
Back on the track the bad news kept coming as the right front went flat again, back to pit road under green and the boys replaced the tire pulled on the fender and sent Praytor back out.
Multiple laps down Praytor and the team did the best they could to keep the DK-LOK Ford rolling to the finish but the day was not over yet.
Late in the race an incident with the 55 sent it piling into the wall head first, with spotting help from Tab Boyd the Moose slowed down and easily missed the wreck.
Another competitor most not have gotten the telegram from his spotter there was a wreck and 4 seconds later he crushed the entire left side of Praytor’s Ford and killed 2 more tires.
“We were really just trying to finish and I don’t think this guy or his spotter ever saw the wreck, really disheartening.”
Now the team had a new problem, they were out of tires. The over the wall guys started combing pit road and Bret Holmes team came to the rescue with 4 tires.
Now what was a good race car was mostly junk and the team had to settle for a 19th place finish.
“Really disappointing day, we had a good DK-LOK Ford and things didn’t go our way. Off to Madison next week for some short track action.”
Another short week in the Mobile, Alabama shop before heading to Madison Wisconsin for the Montgomery Ward 200 on Friday night.