After a short night with a bad motor in Chicago, Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his DK-LOK Team were looking for a rebound in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky.
With a fresh set of Ford horses from Professional Engine in Mobile Black Betty was percolating off the trailer.
Praytor’s Ford Motor was strong but his Ford Fusion was having a hard time turning.
“It’s always a constant battle getting the balance in the car. Last week we were free (car turns too easy) and this week we were just bound up (car won’t turn). We threw a lot at it and got it better but we felt like we were still missing something.” Praytor timed in 22nd for the Crosley Brands 150.
The start of the race was a solid indicator of the night that was ahead for the 30 plus teams and drivers in Sparta, Kentucky-lap 2 caution, lap 10 caution-you get the idea.
With each caution Praytor was called to pit road when the field got the one to go signal to top off with Sunoco fuel in case the race took on a long green flag run.
Once under green the DK-LOK Ford was tight (not turning) in turns 3 and 4 and just about perfect in turns 1 and 2.
“Really frustrating we kept freeing the car up to help it turn but when we got in traffic the back end would get light around others cars and try and spin out.”
The race finally settled down and the field made some laps with a caution just before the halfway mark.
“With the long green flag run we got a lap down and while the rest of the field came down pit road we stayed out to get our lap back. The extra fuel we had been packing in paid off.”
Back on the lead lap Praytor needed a quick caution to get some fresh General Tires, 5 laps later the ARCA Ironman got the caution he needed. The DK-LOK Ford came to pit road for 4 General Tires and Sunoco fuel.
At some point in every race the front runners settle down and log some laps, but that didn’t happen on Friday night.
Praytor spent the bulk of the back half of the race dodging bullets and having fun on restarts.
“We didn’t have a car that could run up front on a long run but I was having some fun on the restarts. We could catch 5 or 6 guys sleeping and pass them before the first turn. They would get wound up and pass us back but it was a lot of fun.”
As the laps clicked off Praytor kept improving positions one at a time. If the race had been crazy in the first 90 laps it was going to just plain stupid in the final 10.
“You could see some of the guys up front getting antsy and they really went crazy 4 and 5 wide cars went everywhere. Then we tried it again, same thing luckily we were laying back keeping out of the mess.”
After a couple of tries the field finally made it to 150 miles and Praytor rolled his DK-LOK Ford back to the hauler in one piece and a 14th place finish.
“Nice rebound from last week, our new motor was really strong, our guys had good stops and our pit strategy went our way all night. We’ve got a few weeks off before the finale and after this last 6 weeks I think our whole team can use the time off.”