After a year off Thomas “Moose” Praytor was itching to get back behind the wheel of his Alabama Institute of Deaf and Blind (AIDB) Chevy at Talladega Superspeedway and with the drop of the green flag the Moose was putting on a show in the General Tire 200.
With Tab Boyd calling the shots from the roof, the Moose quickly moved from 20th to 13th before the first competition caution at lap 10.
“With no practice we really had a lot of unanswered questions about what our car was going to be like, not to mention it had been a year since I was in race car. All the work we’d done to the car really paid off and with Tab’s help it didn’t take long for me to be comfortable in the draft making moves,” said Praytor.
Back under green the Moose rumbled his way in to the top 10. “Most of the time the race settles down after the first 20 laps but that didn’t happen at Talladega. The racing was 2 wide, 3 wide and I loved every minute of it. I tried a lot of moves, some worked some didn’t and I was reminded why I needed to listen to Tab a couple of times.”
While racing hard in the draft Praytor was knocked out of the draft and settled back to 15th until getting to the halfway break. At the break the team filled up the AIDB Chevy with Sunoco fuel and an adjustment to help free up his AIDB Chevy.
From the beginning of the second half of the race business was picking up on the track with everyone now racing to the finish. The Moose quickly inserted himself back in the top 10 and was slicing and dicing, angling for a big finish. With all the hard racing a wreck was inevitable and when it finally happened Praytor was ready. “I missed the wreck and the second wreck then I got hammered from behind.”
The Moose was turned head first towards the wall, some quick driving kept him out of the wall but spinning to the infield.
“I got it gathered up and was able to keep from hitting anything or anybody hitting me. I knew I had some flat tires so I had to take it easy getting back to the pits so the tires coming apart didn’t tear the car apart.”
Taking it slow to the pits paid off on keeping the car together but would cost Praytor a lap. The crew gave him some fresh General Tire rubber and sent him back out.
Being a lap down the Moose needed a caution to get back to the lead pack. Back under green he bided his time and was making sure his Chevy would be good to go if given the opportunity. A fiery wreck with 10 to go would get Praytor his lap back but there would only be a single lap under green to the finish.
“Tab and I worked on timing so we could hit the start finish line wide open. We hit it perfect and picked off 4 cars finishing 17th.”
“All in all it was a solid weekend on the track for our first time back in over a year. It was a great weekend for our race team and family. The support we’ve received from everyone in Mobile, the local businesses and people that support our race team is incredible. Wish we were lining up and racing again this weekend.”