The week leading up to ARCA’s annual trip to the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park was intense with the DK-LOK team pulling out of the Toledo Speedway on Sunday without a car to race with. Late Wednesday a deal was struck with Lira Motorsports and Thomas “Moose” Praytor was in Mooresville, North Carolina on Thursday to prepare the car for the road course. A full court press with the Lira team working until midnight had the DK-LOK ford ready for New Jersey. Praytor and his new DK-LOK Ford were solid off the trailer and looked like they were on the way to a top 10 finish until transmission issues relegated the team to 15th place finish.
As the door closed on the DK-LOK hauler leaving Toledo Speedway a week ago there were a lot of long faces inside the truck as the team started the long haul back to Mobile. The team’s last back up car had been destroyed in Toledo and they just didn’t have any raceable cars ready for New Jersey.
“Being a new team we have not built up an inventory of cars yet and we didn’t have any options for New Jersey,” said Praytor. “We were working the phones harder than we normally work in the race shop. We had a lot of other teams call and offer help but nobody had an entire car that could be ready for New Jersey.”
Enter Carlos and Amanda Lira at Lira Motorsports. Lira had Chassis RK 500 that was mostly ready and they had everything needed and the manpower to finish making it ready. At midnight on Wednesday the Mobile team closed the door on their hauler and headed to North Carolina.
At Lira’s shop, just before noon, the combined teams started working on RK 500. 13 hours later the door closed on the DK-LOK hauler and the team was headed to New Jersey.
“Just really incredible. We were getting the small trailer ready to take our superspeedway car to New Jersey and a make a couple of laps. 48 hours later we were loaded up with a really good car ready to compete. Cannot thank Carlos, Amanda, Teddy Brown and the entire Lira Motorsports team for their help we could not have been there without them.”
Practice for the 150 mile road course race went to plan with very few issues for a car that was put together in 12 hours. The DK-LOK Ford would roll of 19th and early on it looked like the team could be headed to a top 10 finish. At the midway point second gear started going bad and what looked like a big day turned into survival mode.
“Second started jumping out of gear going into the corners, I was able to hold it in gear with one hand and steer with the other. We were holding our own but it was kicking my butt inside the car. It finally got so bad I couldn’t hold it in 2nd anymore and I had to run the race in 3rd and 4th. New Jersey is a big 2nd gear track and not having 2nd really killed our speed.”
Praytor soldiered the DK-LOK Ford home to a 15th place finish.
“A little disappointing finish after having such a great start with our DK-LOK Ford but big picture it was a big day for our race team. It looked like we were going to take a hit in the points but we ended up with a solid day. We have the weekend off but we have a lot of work ahead of us in the shop before we head to Pocono.”
The ARCA Series heads next to Long Pond, Pennsylvania to Pocono Speedway on June 6th with live TV on Fox Sports 1.
Picture: DK-LOK Ford working traffic at NJMP-Rookie Stripes were left on as a dig at Praytor’s lack of road course experience.