With the 2017 season in the rear view mirror Thomas ”Moose” Praytor and his Mobile Alabama based Max Force Race Team were able to concentrate on preparing for the composite car test at Talladega.
The team faced 3 hurdles that had to be climbed in 15 days, 1-it didn’t have a car, 2-it didn’t have a motor and 3-it didn’t have a composite body.
Job 1 Car-Hayley Praytor’s boyfriend better known as Mike Abrams ferried the team’s Superspeedway Chassis to Mooresville and Billy Hess raised the halo and had it ready by Noon. One last job for Max Force as he heads into retirement, thanks Billy!
Job 2 Motor-With the team’s one and only Ilmor mileaged out they needed a motor. An ARCA team loaned the team one. Nice to have friends.
Job 3 Body-On Monday October 1st Tommy Praytor was in Mooresville picking up a used body from another ARCA team. More friends.
With all the components in one place the team had less than 7 days to assemble a Superspeedway car and body, a body they had never seen before.
“We had a lot to do and our guys in Mobile really worked their butts off to get us there. Adam (Lowe), Craig Pickering and Brad Wallace worked some really long hours to make it happen,” said Praytor.
The team should have loaded up for Talladega on Monday afternoon but not satisfied with their progress, they kept working. Midnight came and went with the morning light on the horizon the team headed to Talladega at 4:30 AM.
“We normally have the longest trip to the track, this week we had the shortest and we were the last team there, we even had to get security to let us in.”
While the team had worked until early in the morning, there was more work to do and they spent the bulk of Tuesday finishing their new composite car.
The Ilmor guys went through the motor making sure all of our plumbing and wiring was right and the Chevy was ready to go on track.
At 4:00 PM the Moose climbed in to make his first laps in the new car.
“It was really weird, I had been inside the car working and we set the seat without the body on, so it was the first time I had set in the seat with the body on. I couldn’t believe the room, at 6”2” I have to squish down in the old car, the new car felt like I could have a party inside there.”
Praytor made a few laps and brought the new car back to the garage to make sure there were no issues or tire rubs. “I was confident in our chassis but I really didn’t know what to expect with the new body. Our new Chevy drove like a champ, really smooth and very stable.”
With time running out Praytor made another 3 lap run placing him just outside the top 10 on the speed chart.
“Really a positive day for our race team. So many people, so many moving parts all came together and our Chevy was like a rock.” Day 1 in the books.
Instead of going on track to begin day 2 the team spent the morning in the tech line having the ARCA officials go over the new DK-LOK Chevy.
“Tech was as important to us as on track. We’ve been hanging bodies in our shop for years this was our first ARCA composite body so we needed to make sure we were on the right track. Really appreciate Gadget and Tony spending so much time with us in tech. We had a few little issues but nothing too bad.”
With weather moving in to the area there was time for the Moose to make one more 4 lap run putting him P6 in single car runs. Rain capped Praytor’s on track laps for 2 days at 10.
“Really proud of our race team and the car they put together in less than 7 days for Talladega. Lots of people involved in getting us to Talladega and I can’t thank them enough for their help. We still have so more work to do but we are really looking forward to Daytona.”
Next up, PRI Trade Show and ARCA Series Championship Banquet, December 9th in Indianapolis.