Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his DK-LOK Ford made big news during the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire as the only team to eclipse the 190 MPH mark. In fact the Moose was clocked at 191.194 miles per hour during a race filled with wild wrecks and awesome drafting. Dodging, drafting two and three wide Praytor and the DK-LOK Ford spent most of the race in the top 10. Late in the race a fellow competitor lost power in front of Praytor costing him a shot at the lead and relegating the Mobile, Alabama driver to a 14th place finish.
For the first time Team DK-LOK rolled into Daytona International Speedway with 2 cars attempting to make the biggest race of the season. Thomas “Moose” Praytor would pilot the team’s primary effort in the #9 while ARCA veteran Brad Smith was tapped for the new #23 Ford.
Praytor and his DK-LOK Ford had a successful test in January bringing the team back for the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire with a lot of confidence.
After a quick single car shake down, Praytor wheeled his DK-LOK Ford out for drafting practice, rocketing in to the top 10 on the speed charts. “We knew we had a really good car from the test. We needed to work on tape on the grill for the weather but our biggest task was not to screw up a good car,” said Praytor.
After a couple of drafting session the team parked the DK-LOK Ford opting to miss the final practice on Friday and prepare for qualifying.
After sailing through the tech process in a full day of inspection the DK-LOK Ford had to make several attempts in the tech line before being cleared for qualifying.
“We barely made our group for qualifying including most of our group and it showed from the moment we left pit road. We never really got it together and it cost all of us.” Praytor would roll off 20th.
The Moose, Brad Smith and Austin Wayne Self drew a huge crowd in the open garage with fans streaming in from the Daytona Fan Zone. “ARCA is the first the race of the year and the fans were crazy. It was a great way to unwind before we went racing.”
With Joey Logano’s spotter Tab Boyd playing hooky from his Sprint Cup obligations on the roof spotting for the Moose, Praytor climbed into a wickedly fast DK-LOK hot rod.
“Tab has spotted for us before and on Friday night I went up on the roof as he was working with Joey during Sprint Unlimited Practice. What an education!”
The idea was to settle in from the 20th position and make some smart laps until the first pit stop and then start working the draft.
On lap 3 that plan went out the window. “We were coming down the front stretch and all hell broke loose in front of me. Tab was shouting out directions faster than an auctioneer, low-lower-middle-lower-high go high high! Cars were bouncing off of each other it was crazy. We were running a special Kenny Stabler Hall of Fame sticker and I felt like the Snake dodging cars.”
The race was red flagged while they cleaned up a huge mess on the front stretch. After the red flag, the field quickly renewed their 2 and 3 wide battle for the lead.
Twenty laps in a smaller caution opened pit road, the problem was it was going to be 5 laps shorts of the DK-LOK Ford going the distance. The Moose was called to pit road for fuel and an adjustment to free up the tightening DK-LOK machine.
“We knew we couldn’t go the whole way from here but we knew we didn’t want to get caught short in the middle of a long green flag run.”
Back under green the DK-LOK found itself in the middle of a 3 wide back putting on one of the best drafting shows in ARCA history.
“Tab was doing a great job from the roof and our DK-LOK Ford was awesome.” During this segment of the race Praytor turned the fastest lap of the race and became the only ARCA driver over 190 MPH at 191.146 MPH.
One more stop on pit road to top off with Sunoco fuel and the Moose was Loose rumbling inside the top 10. “Our DK-LOK Ford really liked the high line but it was so good I could put it wherever Tab wanted us to be.
The field continued drafting 2 and 3 wide well into the 200 mile race when a competitor broke in front of Praytor. “Something happened to Sean (Corr) and I had to check up to keep from running over him. The guys behind me had to do the same thing and we got busted up into 2 packs.”
The move sent Praytor all the way back to 20th and looking for a caution for the field to get gathered back together, a caution that wouldn’t come. Praytor and the DK-LOK Ford were able to scramble back to a 14th place finish, a career best at Daytona.
“We had a great week in Daytona, I wish we had finished a little better but stuff like that happens. Just glad we have a car that’s ready to go to Talladega. Really can’t say enough about Tab Boyd on the roof, just an incredible job.”
“It was a huge weekend for us with our first multiple car effort. Brad (Smith) did a great job, what a true comeback story. We had a lot of local support for out tire program, Greer’s, Judy’s, John Thompson & Associates and a lot more that weren’t on the car. People don’t understand how much local support from Mobile helps us be able to compete at this level. Proud of our effort in Daytona, proud of all my guys.”
About Max Force Racing
Tommy Praytor, III became one of Mobile International Speedway’s oldest rookies at the age of 37. A single car on an open trailer with a four-drawer toolbox was the humble beginning of what has become a multi-car staple of racing on the Gulf Coast. From its humble beginnings, Max Force Racing has garnered a State Championship, Track Championship, three US Army Rookie of the Year titles, and over 70 wins. With Thomas “Moose” Praytor handling most of the driving duties, Max Force Racing currently fields entries in the ARCA Racing Series, Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship Series, Miller Lite Super Late Model Series, and the Midwest Cooling Towers Pro Late Model Series.