It’s hard to believe that Newton, Iowa would become known for one of the fastest most versatile short tracks in the country but an area known for crops not cars has cultivated its own field of dreams for teams and drivers from around the globe.
This weekend Iowa hosted the pickup truck, beer and hamburger working man series, ARCA and the limo driven, champagne and caviar crowd of the Indy Car Series, with the fans embracing the best of both worlds.
For team DK-LOK Iowa has not been ones of its best tracks and the slippery multi groove pavement has gotten the better of Thomas “Moose” Praytor who normally enjoys places that are difficult to get around.
“We’ve been OK at Iowa but not good or great and we really worked hard on getting the right setup for our DK-LOK Ford before we left Mobile,” said Praytor. “Our first time on the track our car didn’t want to work right and I really had to rethink the way I was approaching the track. Our second time was like night and day, Iowa and I had come to an understanding.”
In a field stacked full of NASCAR competitors for National TV and an opportunity for a rare Indy Car companion race the DK-LOK Ford would roll off 19th in a 30 car field.
The start of the ABC Supply 150 presented by Caseys General Store was interesting to say the least with the inside row wrecking before they got to the start finish line.
“They were jacking each other up in front of me and I knew I couldn’t hit the brakes so I got as low and as close to the grass as I could get and fortunately had enough room to get by. After the wild start at Madison that nearly cost us a race car I’ve gotten really jumpy about starts.”
Once the field sorted itself out the ARCA drivers ripped off 86 laps before the first caution, for the Moose he was just getting to know his new friend.
“We raced really raced hard that first segment, you can really take a lap or 2 at Iowa and set a competitor up for a pass. You better be moving though because they can come back just as strong on the outside and someone you thought you had passed is now back door handle to door handle.”
The lap 86 caution was the perfect time for General Tires and Sunoco Fuel. “Our UNOH over the wall guys changed for 4 Generals and put 2 cans of Sunoco fuel in our DK-LOK Ford keeping pace with the best on pit road.”
If the first half of the ABC Supply 150 was fun for the Mobile, Alabama driver the second half would be a blast. “We got tucked in behind Kyle Weatherman who really was the first ARCA driver to use the high high line several years ago and I learned a lot.”
With a lesson from Weatherman the Moose was now rumbling around the 7/8 mile oval planted in the Iowa corn fields. The DK-LOK Ford was at the top of the track the middle of the track or at the bottom, wherever Praytor wanted it to be.
“There were times when my spotter sounded like we were at Daytona, top of 3 (wide), middle of 3, bottom of 3. We just had a great DK-LOK Ford that let me make a lot of moves it was really a fun night.”
With only a couple of cautions the field set a record pace and the DK-LOK Ford returned to the hauler without a scratch and a 15th place finish.
“Another solid effort by our race team, the guys had great stops and everyone is all pulling in the same direction here just past halfway in the season. It was fun night for me as a driver being able to race so hard in so many different places. There are very few tracks that you can do that on and come out with a whole race car. They announced while we were there that we would be back next year with the Indy Cars and I’m already looking forward to it.”
A weekend off and the ARCA Series will be back at it at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis for the Sioux Chief PowerPex 200 presented by Jive July 22nd at 8PM CST on Fox Sports 1.