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Tommy Praytor Photo's
Thomas 2018 News and Pictures
Praytor Continues Holiday Tradition
In what has become a Holiday tradition Thomas “Moose” Praytor with a little help from his friends, Grant Thompson and Connor Okrzesik made a delivery to WKRG’s Magical Christmas Toy Drive.
Praytor and WKRG Sports Anchor, Randy Patrick, started the delivery of remote control cars years ago and over time have included some pretty fast drivers from the Gulf Coast.
Young Grant Thompson coming off of a runner up National Inex Championship in 2017 made his first laps in a full size race truck at only 12 years old in 2018. Thompson made his second trip to TV 5 along with 17 year old Connor Okrzesik.
Okrzesik, blistered the final 3 races of the 2018 season with a 2nd place finish at the Mobile 300, 4th at the 51st Annual Snowball Derby and another podium finish in the Snowflake. Fans can expect big things from Okrzesik in 2019.
“Randy does a tremendous job of covering racing and he’s always fun to beat racing remote control cars with. What Channel 5 does with the Salvation Army is incredible,” said Praytor.
There were over 32,000 donated to the 2018 Magical Christmas Toy Drive.
Just over 50 days until the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway.
Praytor Keeps On Trucking
Just because Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his Mobile, Alabama race team took a break from the second half of the 2018 ARCA Schedule doesn’t mean Praytor hasn’t been busy.
Praytor’s newly formed Max Force Trucking hauled its first load out of the Port of Mobile last week. “We’ve been trying to make this happen for the better part of the year, the paperwork and documentation needed for the Department of Transportation, the State of Alabama and the Alabama Port Authority is incredible”, said Praytor.
Praytor’s Trucking operation is working with Southern Intermodal Xpress (SIX) hauling cargo in and out the Port of Mobile. “Coming in to the holidays we will be extra busy with folks like Walmart and Amazon, while the increased traffic through the Port of Mobile because of the Panama Canal will keep us busy year round.”
Trucking has become a central theme in the Moose’s life these days, while putting together the Trucking company, Praytor has increased his CDL teaching duties with Bishop State College and is now coordinating his own set of classes, teachers and students.
And for those worried about the return of the ARCA Series Ironman, you won’t have to wait much longer. “One of our biggest challenges over the last few months was moving the race team to its new shop. Over the last 20 plus years our team has always operated out of space that was something else and we made it work for us. Our new space is ultra modern and has required a tremendous amount of build out. My Dad has been overseeing the shop and we are ready to start preparing cars for the test in Daytona in January.”
“I’m looking for to the ARCA banquet in December to see all of our racing family and congratulate our newest Champion.”
Praytor Twins Headed to St Paul’s Hall of Fame
On Thursday night Hayley Praytor and her twin brother Thomas “Moose” Praytor will be inducted with a star studded class in to the Saint Paul’s Hall of Fame in Mobile, Alabama.
The 2018 class is not only filled with High School standouts but players who went on to College and Pro careers including athletes still competing in the NFL and Major League Baseball.
During her tenure at St Paul’s Hayley Praytor’s name became synonymous with Girls Softball. Praytor spent 6 years on the Varsity Squad garnering two selections to the All County Team in 2007 and 2008.
Praytor played a multitude of positions during her career including a year catching for future LSU/USM pitcher Hannah Griffin before settling in for her final season in right field, a position she would carry to Huntingdon College.
During High School Praytor was a left handed “slap” hitter producing runs and runners. A unique stance and Praytor’s hand eye coordination made her a threat to put the ball in play at every at bat.
With a six year tenure on the team and as the only Senior, Praytor’s leadership skills were put to the test at every turn but none more so than the 2008 State Championship Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama.
The lady Saints were solidly in the winner’s bracket marching to the finals when delays pushed the tournament finals to the same day as her Graduation. Praytor made the decision to stay with her team missing graduation and was quoted at the time, “On our team we always have each other’s back.”
The Saints lost the tournament but the lesson in leadership carried Praytor forward to college.
Heavily recruited out of High School, Praytor chose Huntingdon College and was one of 16 freshmen to check in for the Softball team. Four years later Praytor was the lone surviving member of those original 16. Dedication and leadership learned at St. Paul’s carried the Mobile native forward.
By the time Praytor reached her Senior Year at Huntingdon, a broken ankle and shoulder surgery had taken their toll on the once speedy slap hitter. As she had done before Praytor adapted becoming a power hitter. In her final at bat Praytor blasted a bases loaded double to win the Conference Title, a story book ending to a Hall of Fame career.
While Hayley Praytor was speeding around the diamond her twin brother, Thomas “Moose” Praytor was speeding around race tracks in the Southeast.
The Moose played his fair share of sports at St Paul’s, Football (Middle School Champion & State Champions), Golf and Soccer Praytor’s path to St Paul’s Hall of Fame would be like no others and faster.
In the almost 50 years history of St Paul’s no student has ever reached the Hall of Fame as a Race Car Driver but from the first appearance of a race car in Mrs. Cottons class in 2nd grade it seemed like Praytor’s destiny was sealed.
Like most young racers Praytor started racing at eight years old in an old yard kart that quickly progressed to bigger and faster cars. While at St Paul’s Praytor won a track Championship, a State Championship and three Rookie of the Year titles in different classes of cars.
After graduating in 2008, Praytor continued his racing career in the Pro and Super Late Model Divisions racing in Mobile and Pensacola.
In 2012 Praytor got his first big opportunity with a 1 day test at Daytona. The test led to 4 more races in 2012 including the inaugural ARCA Mobile 200 and a top 20 finish at Talladega.
By 2013 Praytor landed a full time ride with Hixson Motorsports out of Tennessee and finished 9th in the ARCA Championship in his first full year of competition and was awarded the HG Adcox Sportsmanship award. Praytor followed that up with a 7th place finish in 2014.
In 2015 Praytor struck out on his own with his own race team based out of Mobile Alabama. It was the first time a team had ever competed full time in a National Touring Series out of Mobile. Praytor finished 8th in the Championship standings the first season out of Mobile, following it up with a 5th place finish in 2016 and a 7th place finish in 2017.
Over his first six seasons of competition Praytor became the Ironman or “IronMoose” of the Series competing in 105 consecutive races while logging over 13,000 miles of competition.
Praytor ended his streak of consecutive starts earlier this year at Talladega and has been mentoring young and upcoming talent. The Moose will continue racing on a part time basis in 2019.
The St Paul’s Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony is Thursday night at the Country club of Mobile and halftime recognition during the Saints Homecoming game Friday night at halftime.
Praytor Stops Streak at 105
As they say all good things come to an end and for Thomas “Moose” Praytor a three race deal that’s turned the Mobile, Alabama driver into the ARCA Series Ironman is over at 105 races.
The streak of 105 consecutive races encompasses six seasons of ARCA competition and over 13,000 laps. You have to go back to October of 2012 to not find Praytor in the ARCA lineup.
“It’s been an incredible run, I never thought I would get to make one ARCA race much less over 100.”
The streak started with Praytor driving for long time ARCA Owners Wayne and Pam Hixson out of Soddy Daisy Tennessee.
“I had never heard of Soddy Daisy before and the next thing I knew I was living in Mr. Wayne’s basement working on race cars. I learned so much about cars and what it took run a race team at this level I couldn’t have even gotten started without the Hixsons.”
After a couple of years under Hixson’s tutelage Praytor moved back to Mobile driving for his family run Max Force Racing. The Mobile native responded with is best ARCA finish at the ARCA Mobile 200.
“Racing in front of the home town crowd leading for the first time, just missing a top five, that will always be a special day for me.”
The streak has taken the Moose on over 300,000 miles of towing and some wild trips.
“We tore the front off the trailer off in Fort Deposit, Alabama on our way to Pocono. The trailer was literally laying on the ground. Next thing we know some good ole boys showed up dragged us to an abandoned service station. Before it was over I think most of the racing community in Fort Deposit was working on our trailer. We called in a replacement trailer from Mobile but the guys in Fort Deposit would have known of it and insisted we were better off than before. About 3AM they put the finishing touches on it and we were off to Pocono, just wild.”
The hauler became a familiar issue for Praytor with tires popping like balloons and the I-Beams splitting apart in Louisville.
“We ended up living in Louisville for a month working out of Bo Lemastus’s warehouse. I think we stole, uh borrowed parts from everyone in the series to keep going. Bill and Will Kimmel even had us over to their house for Father’s Day dinner.”
Parts weren’t the only thing Praytor needed to keep going. “We blew a motor in Pocono without a back up and we borrowed Sarah Cornett Ching’s car to start the race. That’s was the most we ever borrowed at one time but our ARCA family has really kept us going.”
“When you are in the middle of streak like we were on you really don’t think about the toll it’s taking on you and your family. I mean we started this deal my Dad didn’t have hair and now he looks like a hippie. In the middle of last season it finally started to catch up with me.”
“We decided to finish the year and just like the streak started end it with the first few races going through Talladega.”
Is this the end of the line for the Moose?
“Oh no! We have a lot of people calling and wanting to drive our cars. Ronnie Osmer did a great job in Daytona for us and we expect him to race a few more times. I’ll still be preparing our cars and coming to the racetrack as crew chief and my Dad and I may swap up spotter roles. I’m going to get to yell at him for a change (laughing).”
What about behind the wheel?
“I’ve got favorite places I like to go, I’ve already circled DuQuoin and Springfield. Over the last 6 years I’ve become a big fan of the dirt and I love plate racing. ORP, St. Louis and Kansas may pop up but I’m really going to try and recharge. My Dad has a hat he started wearing last year, it say “Make Racing Fun Again”. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Dega Disappointment Finds Praytor Again
For a race car drive from Alabama Talladega Superspeedway is sacred ground for Mobile’s Thomas “Moose” Praytor Dega is so much more.
“We literally have 2 races on the calendar circled that we think we have our best shot to win at, Daytona and Talladega,” said Praytor.
“Our plate program has really grown over the last seven years and with Tab (Boyds) help from the roof we’ve developed a lot of drafting moves that really pay off.”
With such a short turn around from Salem’s race on Sunday, the Mobile, Alabama based teams resources were pressed to the max getting motors and cars prepared for Talladega.
Better late than never the team pulled in to Talladega Superspeedway on Friday before the gate opened for the second day of the two day event.
“We got through tech but there just wasn’t enough time to get on track for practice. So we lined up for qualifying and let her rip.”
As usual, the games played during group qualifying found Praytor on the short end of the stick and the AIDB Chevy would roll off 28th.
As luck would have he wasn’t the only fast car stuck in the back, Bobby Gerhardt and Sean Corr were there with him. With the drop of the green flag the Moose was rumbling.
Three wide, four wide if he could sniff some air he was there. In just 10 short laps Praytor had moved all the way up from 28th to 14th and was looking for more.
“I was down at the bottom of three wide and the guy in the middle started bouncing around and bounced into my right front fender. My car shot to the right and the other car came across the nose of our AIDB Chevy.”
Spinning up and then down the track the nose took a big hit at the end of the embankment.
On pit road the UNOH over the wall guys taped up the nose and sent Praytor back out still on the lead lap. Coming back to the green some debris caught the left front and Praytor had to come back to pit road for tires.
“Our AIDB Chevy wasn’t hurt bad it was just hurt in the wrong place to get any speed out of her. I’m not sure how many times we pitted but our UNOH guys did a great job patching us back up.”
The remaining laps were spent picking off cars hurt worse than the AIDB Chevy and what had started with so much promise ended 21st.
“Just a shame we had great drafting partners and I knew we had a great car. Really appreciate all the support we get from our fans and friends in Alabama. We’ll start working on Daytona next week.”
Dega Time-Moose Adds Crew from AIDB
GENERAL TIRE 200 AT TALLADEGA SPEEDWAY: Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his Mobile, Alabama crew are continuing their long standing relationship with the Alabama Institute of Deaf and Blind (AIDB) this weekend at Talladega. Jeffrey Oliver, a student at AIDB will become a pit crew member this weekend for the General Tire 200. “We always enjoy having students come over from AIDB and having Jeffrey come back to help us out is really cool.” Speaking of special guest, fresh off a Gold Medal Performance at the Special Olympics, Reese McGagahin, the Moose’s ride along buddy from Mobile International Speedway a few weeks ago will be with the team this weekend at Talladega. Its Dega all the stars come out! “Talladega is so much fun for us, so many people hanging out. I wish we had 2 Talladega’s, one without the race where we can just have fun with everyone that supports us and one where we race”, said Praytor. “Talladega is circled on our calendar, it’s Alabama and everyone know how much I like restrictor plate racing. We’ve proved we have really good plate stuff and with Tab Boyd on the roof we expect to be in contention.”
SPOTTER: At the races that are companion events with the Sprint Cup Series, Praytor will continue to utilize Pensacola native Tab Boyd. When he is not moonlighting for Praytor, Boyd is William Byron’s new spotter in the Monster Cup Series.
The General Tire 200 is a 2 day event starting with technical inspection Thursday. The gates open bright and early at 7 am Friday morning for an incredible day of events, starting with practice at 8:30. We will then roll into General Tire qualifying at 2:30 pm, and the green flag will drop at 5PM CST. Live timing and scoring for practice, qualifying and the race will be on ARCAracing.com. The race will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1. Also, please follow us on Twitter (@DKLOKRacing), Instagram (Thomas Praytor), and Facebook (Dk-Lok Racing) for live trackside updates from our PR team.
Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) aidb.org
ASSOCIATE SPONSORS: G-Force, Nudraulix, Rettigs Auto Body, APS Automotive Painters Supply, Dueitt’s Battery Supply, Airgas, MAECO Fabrication, John Thompson & Associates, Judy’s Place, Ainsworth Racing, Greer’s Food Market, Wade Distributing, VFW Post 80, Golden Flake, Mobile County Sheriff’s Department, Praytor Properties
CAR: MF002 The team has been working on this chassis for the last 5 seasons for exclusive use at Daytona and Talladega. It’s paid off with the car and Praytor drafting to their way into the top 5 in the last 5 plate races. Expect more bold moves at Talladega.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND: The name of the game this week will go something like the Toy Story theme song “You’ve got A Friend in Me”. This week is all about strategy and partnership. Starting with group qualifying, either your group finds a friend in one another or… you’ll be in the dust. Same goes for the race, you have to find that right draft group that will stick with you until the end. The fans will be in for a ride to see who finds their “Friend until the End” or will be stuck solo. Oh and last thing.. STAY OUT OF THE BIG ONE!
Pancakes Aint Good at Salem
“I really like going to Salem so much history and really a bad ass race track!”
Off the trailer the team fought finding grip and the brakes that had been completely rebuilt since Nashville.
“Our brakes have really been
frustrating this season. We rebuilt and replaced we thought almost everything.
We did make it better but still not what we needed.
Praytor and buddy Mike Basham raced hard in the early going before brake issues led to Basham taking the spot.
“Mike had a good car, they blew a motor in qualifying went back home changed it out and were ready to race on Sunday.”
The early portions of the 200 laps were uneventful as everyone settled in and were racing hard. A lap 80 caution brought Praytor to pit road and 4 tires looking for some more grip.
“Tires worked for a little while and we got some ground back but it didn’t cure all of our problems.”
Past the halfway mark Praytor and his DK-LOK Ford got the lucky dog, getting a lap back.
“We came in for 2 more tires and made some adjustments continuing to work on the handling of our Ford.”
Under green, Praytor was able to pick up the pace and was making tracks.
As the laps wound down the right front upper control arm mount broke sending the Moose in to the outside retaining wall pancaking the right side of the DK-LOK Ford, settling for 19th.
“We had a decent car but not what we were looking for. Our DK-LOK Ford has us guessing on our brakes, our UNOH Kids really got their feet wet this weekend and had some decent stops. I think we have 3 weeks of work to do get ready for Talladega!”
Top Pic: UNOH Gang making 4 tire stop
Nashville Has Praytor Singing the Blues
The competitors at this year’s Music City 200 in Nashville were met with snowflakes and cold temps on Saturday morning at what was supposed to be one of the hottest short track double headers of the season.
The weather finally cooperated letting the ARCA cars and the Southern Super Series Late Models on track and it didn’t take them long to put out some heat!
For Thomas “Moose” Praytor, practice started slowly and picked up steam. “Off the trailer we really didn’t have any grip with our DK-LOK Ford. We had to make some wholesale changes before I felt like we were finally getting in the track.”
The Mobile, Alabama driver was 20th on the practice charts and would post a 15th place qualifying time. “Our car was better on new tires but we still weren’t able to get much grip in 3 laps. I felt like I left a lot on the table in qualifying.”
With a little extra heat in his General Tires Praytor was on the move at the start of the Music City 200. “Our DK-LOK Ford really liked the hot tires and we made some progress in the early going. Having an Ilmor for the first time on a short track was really making a difference.”
During the early laps of the race Praytor made headway into a stout field of cars but around lap 30 the day started to go sour.
“We used a really aggressive set of brakes and brake pads that performed great but by lap 30 they started to go and by lap 40 they were all but gone.”
The DK-LOK Ford went from contending to hanging on.
“We could keep up on the straightaways but we were just getting killed going into the corner without any brakes.”
Praytor held his own but was slowly dropping back until just past the halfway mark when a first race, rookie competitor decided he needed a caution and wrecked the Moose to get it.
“Really dumb on his part, the guys patched us up and got me back out.”
The final laps were uneventful for the DK-LOK Ford and Praytor rolled it home 18th.
“We learned a lot from Nashville, it will probably take us a few races to work all the kinks out but we have a lot to be excited about. Looking forward to Salem!”
Pictures: Top-Praytor trying to hold off race winner Zane Smith. Bottom-Praytor going the wrong way after getting turned.
Like Shake & Bake Praytor & McGahagin Back Together
With a weekend off from the ARCA schedule, Thomas “Moose” Praytor was able to surprise one of his biggest fans, Reese McGahagin, with the duo turning a few laps with the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience.
Reese is an avid race fan and was part of Praytor’s team a couple of years ago at Talladega. “We had a great time with Reese and his Dad at Talladega. It was their dream to be at Talladega and it is always fun to help other people realize their dreams.”
After Talladega, Praytor kept going in circles while McGahagin was running his own races, taking home medals in Special Olympics competition. The pair kept up with each other’s exploits and with the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience coming to Mobile, the wheels started turning.
Reese’s Dad got Reese approved to take part in the ride-a-long and the Moose jumped in to give Reese a surprise driver, while Fox 10 agreed to get it all on tape.
“Mark and the guys at Rusty Wallace Racing Experience have always been great partners in doing these special ride-a-longs. We had Chasity Byrd from Fox 10 ride with me a few years ago and now I think corporate want let anyone else ride.”
With everything in place, the group assembled to take Reese for a ride. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, Reese’s smile says it all.
“It was another great experience for me to be part of Reese’s special day. I think Reese had fun, he was screaming all the way around the track! I appreciate Rusty Wallace Driving Experience and Fox 10 for being part of helping us make it happen. Hopefully we can get Reese back to Talladega in April.”
Praytor and his Max Force Team return to action April 7th at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville for the Music City 200, live on MAVTV.
Praytor Flexes Plate Muscle To Start 20th Season
With a new paint scheme and whole lot of attitude, Thomas “Moose” Praytor began his 20th Season of Racing at Daytona International Speedway in the Lucas Oil 200 presented by General Tire.
“Our car has been bad fast since the very first composite body test at Talladega last year and we’ve been waiting on February 10th,” said Praytor.
The DK-LOK Chevy quickly drew notice at Daytona with the return of the Moose’s “Black & Yellow” Paint scheme rolling through the garage. It got even more attention when it made its first laps in the draft.
“Practice confirmed what we felt like after testing and our Chevy would just go wherever I wanted to put it. We worked on a gear and a few other small items before putting the car cover on it and getting ready for qualifying.”
Group qualifying was supposed to a pretty straight forward affair until 6 drivers brought their own agendas to the table and let’s just say the Moose ended up on the short end of the buddy stick. “We get hosed every year, don’t even know why we make a plan it never works out.”
Praytor wasn’t the only veteran to find himself in the middle of the field, 8 time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhardt would line up right -behind him. “Having Mr. Bobby back there made me feel a little better but I really wanted to get up to the guy who hosed us in qualifying.”
With the drop of the green flag the Ironman of the ARCA Series didn’t show any rust as he quickly started drafting towards the front.
Praytor and Veteran Cup Spotter Tab Boyd are in their third season of working together and the duo were as smooth as peanut butter and jelly. “Having Tab on the roof really gives me a lot of confidence in gambling on tricky moves.”
Praytor and Gerhardt quickly made up 10 or 12 spaces when the first caution flag of the day flew. Things were about to get interesting.
The caution was for teammate Ronnie Osmer’s Ford that had gone up in smoke off of turn 4. While the leaders including Praytor lined up to come to pit road for fuel bad stuff was happening in Praytor’s pit box.
Osmer brought his car to rest in his stall, which was one behind Praytors. The team started to push Osmer’s car to the garage when an official stopped them in Praytor’s pits, leaving the Moose nowhere to go.
While the elder Praytor argued with the officials the team pushed Osmer back into his stall, allowing Praytor to back up into his stall and other cars along pit road to do the same. Since the Moose wasn’t in his stall the domino effect hit everyone at the beginning of pit road. “It was just a cluster, I could hear my Dad through my earpieces and over the motor yelling at the officials.”
When Praytor returned to the racing surface all of the gains he had made were wiped out and then some. The effect was like waving a red cape in front of a mad bull or in this case a mad Moose.
Back under green Praytor was a man on a mission led by his eye in the sky, Tab Boyd. Praytor was picking off competitors in wholesale fashion, he even found his way up to the driver who hosed him in qualifying. The radio conversation went like this-“Did you just tell him he was number 1?” “Yep with both hands while I was driving with my knees.”
Within 10 laps Praytor had gained back all the ground he lost and was on the back bumper of Bobby Gerhardt.
“That section of green flag racing was a lot of fun. Our DK-LOK Chevy was getting big runs and we were able to move lane to lane. Tab was calling out positions 2 or 3 ahead of me we were gaining positions so quickly.”
With so much success picking up spots, a mid-race caution let Praytor come back to pit road to top off and ensure himself enough fuel to go the distance and into overtime, little did he know.
With the laps winding down the level of intensity was picking up with give and take turning into take only. Praytor seemed to be at the epicenter of every big wreck leading to the finish.
The first big one happened in turn 2 with the Moose sweeping to the outside to use a hole that closed behind him, collecting more cars.
On the first final lap a car ended up on his side sliding down the backstretch. Praytor dove low launching his DK-LOK Chevy in the air over the grass somehow landing on all fours and still pointed straight.
Fox Sports Video: https://www.foxsports.com/motor/video/1158718531906
Praytor was now 5th with an overtime lap to settle it.
The top four cars had been pushing and shoving on each other for a while so a single lap was probably a good time for them to really lean on each other. Praytor dropped a couple of car lengths back on the restart and going into turn 3 the leaders did just what he expected and they started wrecking. “It played out perfectly for us and we got hammered from behind.”
Fox Sports Video: https://www.foxsports.com/motor/video/1158734403913
The melee set up another single lap for the finish.
Praytor’s once shiny new car was now a mangled mess but all it needed to go was 1 more lap. The Moose got a push to pit road and the taping, pulling and shoving started. Several times through the Moose returned for the final lap. A final lap that didn’t go as planned.
On his way to take the green flag, Praytor’s Chevy must have had some body parts still hanging loose and a piece get into the right front tire, blowing the tire and taking out the right front fender. Instead of making a charge to the end Praytor limped home to a 14th place finish.
“Really a great effort for our race team, it’s a shame it didn’t work out all the way to the end but we had a bad ass race car, we were in the hunt with all weekend. Can’t say enough about Tab (Boyd) making calls from the roof, what a great job in helping me get around. Way too many people to thank for getting this car ready and here to Daytona, our guys back in Mobile, Bruce Shakespeare who dropped in from Iowa and our UNOH kids did a nice job in their first outing. I wish Ronnie (Osmer) had been able to make all the laps but I’m glad he is OK, that’s pretty wild. We can’t go fast without all of our marketing partners, DK-LOK along with AQUASALT and Wade Distributing really stepped up for Daytona. We’ll get her fixed back home and be ready to be back home in Alabama at Talladega.”
Watch Thomas Praytor and Randy Patrick Saturday night on WKRG TV 5 Special "Countdown to Daytona" at 6:30 CST.
Osmer’s Debut Cut Short by Errant Pipe Through Motor Then Car
At Daytona International Speedway competitors and their crews prepare for the unexpected, almost anything can happen and when you think you’ve seen it all, Scotts Rookie of the Year Challenger Ronnie Osmer adds a new one.
Osmer rolled his Hub International/Supreme Ford-Slidell Fusion on to high banks of Daytona for his first Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire looking for a solid day and making all 200 miles.
“The first few laps at Daytona are always hectic and Ronnie did a really good job navigating traffic and doing what he needed to do,” offered spotter David Pepper. “It looks easy on TV but you can get in trouble really quick going this fast.”
The Green flag signaled the beginning of the 55th running of the ARCA Series at Daytona and Osmer quickly brought his HUB/Supreme Ford-Slidell to life.
“Lots of nerves leading up to the race but getting in the car and taking the green flag really got me focused on my job and let me shut out everything going on around me” said Osmer.
Osmer’s Ford circled the World Center of Speed at a pace close to 180 MPH and the Scotts Rookie was having a text book first start at Daytona.
“Having the experience of David Pepper spotting for me, giving me great info really helped me work the draft and the other cars around me.”
Osmer was settling into the demands and G Forces of the draft when just past the ¼ way mark things started to go bad, really bad.
“I could smell the motor going bad but my gauges all looked good then a big ball of smoke came out from under the hood.”
Osmer quickly put his wounded HUB/Supreme Ford down on the apron and made his way to pit road. The team pushed his lifeless machine back to the garage while the driver made the mandatory trip to the infield care center.
Back in the garage, the team searched for the issue with the motor and found a foot and a half piece of bumper bar in the trunk. The bar had come off another car, going through the front of Osmer’s Ford taking out oil and water lines on the motor before blowing a hole in the crush panel of the trunk and landing in the rear of the Ford.
“It doesn’t get much crazier than that,” said Osmer. “I just knew the motor had gone south but it’s hard to keep one going with a pipe beating on it at 180 MPH.”
Osmer’s day was shorter than hoped for but the experience-“It’s just hard to put in to words getting an opportunity to race at Daytona. So many people helped make this possible, HUB International, Supreme Ford Slidell and our tire sponsors; Roberts Tech Jobs.com, J Wire, Arata & Arata, Larry Trumbaturi House Plans and Ride to Give.”
“We created some amazing partnerships to make Daytona happen and we hope it’s the first of more to come. I’m definitely hooked!”
Praytor Starts 20th Season of Competition at Daytona
The Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire: Thomas “Moose Praytor heads to Daytona International Speedway to start his 20th season of racing competition and his 102nd consecutive ARCA Race leading all ARCA Competitors. “What a ride! Hard to believe, it just seems like yesterday we were racing karts at J & J Speedway.” Praytor heads to Daytona with a new car, a new paint scheme and fresh Ilmor power plant. “Each year we’ve tried to improve our program and this year we are coming to Daytona with one of the best cars we’ve ever taken to the race track. Our guys have been working hard back in Mobile and we have a really nice piece for Daytona.” Along with a new car Praytor has another Mobile-5 Flags Driver, Ronnie Osmer as a teammate. “Ronnie has a done a great job at the test and in the shop, he should have a solid effort on Saturday.” Mobile has 3 drivers at Datyona this weekend, Osmer, Praytor and Dave Mader. Mader is a member of the Alabama Racing Hall of Fame and his last trip to Daytona was in 1992 trying to make the Daytona 500.
SPOTTER: At the races that are companion events with the Sprint Cup Series, Praytor will continue to utilize Pensacola native Tab Boyd. When he is not moonlighting for Praytor, Boyd is William Byron’s new spotter in the Monster Cup Series.
2017 ARCA CHAMPIONSHIP STANDING: 7th
CAR: MF002 The team has been working on this chassis for the last 5 seasons for exclusive use at Daytona and Talladega. It’s paid off with the car and Praytor drafting to their way into the top 5 in the last 4 plate races.
The Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is a long 4 day event with technical inspection all day Wednesday and Thursday morning before the first round of on track activity Thursday afternoon from 4:00- 6:00 EST. Friday morning is the final round of practice with Menards Pole group qualifying at 3:30 EST. On Saturday the 65th ARCA Season presented by Menards gets underway at 4:15 EST. Live timing and scoring for practice, qualifying and the race will be on ARCAracing.com. This race will be televised live on Fox Sports 1, Channels in Mobile Comcast/Xfinity 49/241HD, Mediacom 52, Direct TV 219, Dish 150, AT&T Uverse 652.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND: While Praytor is a Superspeedway Veteran the field will be filled with Rookies and first time starters expect plenty of excitement. Fuel and luck will be the key to a good finish.
PRIMARYSPONSOR: DK-LOK Fittings & Valves dklokusa.com
ASSOCIATE SPONSORS: G-Force, Nudraulix, Rettigs Auto Body, APS Automotive Painters Supply, Dueitt’s Battery Supply, Airgas, MAECO Fabrication, John Thompson & Associates, Judy’s Place, Ainsworth Racing, Greer’s Food Market, AQUASALT, Wade Distributing, Campbell, Duke & Campbell, Omni Fitness, Golden Flake, Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, Praytor Realty
Osmer’s Supreme Ford Adds HUB International for Daytona
Scott Rookie Challenge candidate Ronnie Osmer has teamed up with HUB International for Osmer’s first start at Daytona International Speedway.
“The last month has been kind of a blur with the opportunity to test at Daytona and now a shot at racing,” said Osmer. “Having a company with as much clout as HUB International partner with us is incredible.”
With over 10,000 agents HUB is one of the largest insurance brokers in the world, and represents a broad, deep, one-of-a-kind aggregation of insurance entrepreneurs. HUB offers a wide variety of personal and business insurance with over 400 brokerages in the US.
“We have been watching Ronnie work his way up through the racing ranks and we are excited about being part of his first start at Datyona,” offered Donald Pecot, Sr, Vice President, HUB International.
Osmer will pilot a Ford Fusion made possible by Louisiana Ford Dealer, Supreme Ford in the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire on February 10that Datyona.
“Ronnie had a great test and a lot of people have worked really hard to get him back for the race,” team owner Thomas Praytor. “He should have a solid race, plus I really enjoy having another MIS-5 Flags Driver as my teammate.”
The ARCA Racing Series will be making its 55th appearance at the World Center of Speed on February 10th at 3:45 CST live on Fox Sports 1.
CHASSIS MF009: Supreme Ford’s 275+ employees are the power behind Osmer Fusion Chassis 009.
SPOTTER: David Pepper, General Manager ThorSport Racing.
PRIMARYSPONSORS: HUB International - Supreme Ford Slidell
ASSOCIATE SPONSORS: J-Wire, Inc. Larry Trumbaturi Drafting, Arata and Arata Law Firm, RobertsTechJobs.com, Nudraulix, Rettigs Auto Body, APS Automotive Painters Supply, Dueitt’s Battery Supply, Airgas, Golden Flake.
Praytor-Osmer Tardy But Daytona Tested
Mobile based Max Force Racing tested two drivers, with two different agendas during the ARCA Series test at Daytona International Speedway-both accomplished their task.
For the 18 year old Pearl River, Louisiana native, Ronnie Osmer’s task was simple, make laps, get comfortable and earn his ARCA Superspeedway license.
For the Ironman of the series and one of the drivers with the most restrictor plate laps at the test, Thomas “Moose” Praytor’s task was different, improve on the Talladega Test and get ready to run up front.
The addition of the second car for the test put a lot of pressure on the all volunteer team from Mobile, Alabama. In the two weeks leading up to the test all of the resources the team could muster were working towards having the 2nd car ready.
Even with everyone working well in to the night and 48 hours continuously before leaving the team was behind. The DK-LOK hauler arriving on Friday afternoon, just in time for it to rain.
The team used the rain to finish up minor items on the cars, starting fresh on Saturday.
Praytor took the second car out for its first trip at the World Center of Speed, making sure it was good to go and turned it over to Osmer.
As with every new driver at Daytona there is a learning curve, the hardest are, don’t let off the gas and don’t run off the bottom of the racetrack.
“I took a ride in the van around the track earlier in the morning. That gave me a really good perspective in person,” said Osmer. “I turned a lot of laps on the simulator preparing for the test but there is no way a computer can simulate Daytona!”
Osmer’s first few laps were tentative, as they should be, then the young Rookie started dropping his lap times picking up speed and confidence.
While Osmer was getting to know the track, Praytor was at home hammering out lap times in and out of the draft putting his car through it’s paces preparing for ARCA’s 55th return to Daytona.
“We just have a tremendous amount of confidence in this car, it ran third most of the race here last year until we got collected in somebody else’s mess,” offered Praytor. “We were working on small things like tape and gears, we really didn’t get the draft partners we were looking for but I think we know the direction we need to come back with in February.”
With the test winding down Praytor took to the high banks of Daytona one final time with his Rookie teammate in tow. “We wanted Ronnie to draft some before leaving so he could get a feel for the draft if he gets an opportunity to race here,” added Praytor.
The pair of 9’s were soon making tracks at the World Center of Speed and it didn’t take the 18 year old long to have a handle on the draft. “Really appreciate Thomas spending so much time with me showing me the way around the track in the draft. When we got lined up nose to tail my car really took off,” Osmer.
Missions accomplished, Osmer received his Superspeedway license and Praytor is ready to return for the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire on February 10th.