Praytor Wheels DK-LOK Ford to 13th at the Tricky Triangle
13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
A day of testing followed by a day of practice and qualifying had Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his DK-LOK team as well prepared to race since the short track opener at Mobile International Speedway. “A lot of effort has gone into our mile and half car we call Batman. We took the car completely apart in the off season and put it back together, then added some fresh Roush Yates horses under the hood. The guys in Mobile really worked their tail off getting this car prepared for this weekend and it showed on the track,” said Praytor.
The DK-LOK machine timed in the 16th position for the Spring running of the ARCA Pocono 200 a full seconds faster than last years time and just in front of 8 time Daytona Champion and Lebanon, Pennsylvania’s Bobby Gerhardt. With the drop of the green flag Gerhardt, Praytor and ARCA regulars Josh Williams and Spencer Gallagher formed a 4 car conga line circling the 2.5 mile 3 turn oval. “It was really cool to run with Mr. Bobby (Gerhardt) at Pocono. The man has like 100,000 laps around the place and I learned a lot from racing with him.”
An early caution brought the DK-LOK Ford to pit road for a fuel only stop positioning the team for a longer fuel run that could pay dividends later in the race. As has been a common theme this year the race took on a green flag look and made 50 plus more laps before the next caution.
A full fuel load will only take you about 35 laps and the Moose had to bring his DK-LOK Ford to pit road for a green flag fuel only stop.
With everyone coming down for gas under green flag conditions cars were racing in all 3 corners of the speedway. Again Praytor and Gerhardt would find themselves battling for position. The crafty veteran used a lap car to get the position on Praytor but the Moose would come rumbling back to reclaim the spot a few laps later. “The kid did a good job all day. We raced each other clean and it was a good time,” offered Gerhardt in a post-race interview.
A late caution allowed Praytor to bring his tight and getting tighter DK-LOK Ford to pit road for 4 tires, fuel and an adjustment. “Our DK-LOK Ford was really well balanced until about halfway and we started to get tight and with each lap it got tighter. We made an adjustment on the stop but it just didn’t take the tight out of it."
Late race restarts are normally chaotic, at Pocono they are insane. With a mile long front stretch before the first corner cars were 4 and 5 wide before funneling into the hard left hander that is turn 1 and as usual everyone didn't make it. "We went down the front stretch and you could just see it wasn't going to work out. I gave the group in front of me a little room so we wouldn't be I involved in their mess." The DK-LOK machine cleared the ensuing carnage without a scratch.
On the next restart everyone minded their manners a little better and the race went green until the finish with the DK-LOK team recording a 13th place finish.
"We've used the word solid a lot this weekend and that's the kind of race we had, our DK-LOK Ford, our Roush-Yates power plant, our crew all solid all weekend. Having an opportunity to test was important and we appreciate Pocono and ARCA making that happen. We'll get Batman turned around this week and ready for Michigan on Friday."
The ARCA Michigan 200 from Michigan International Speedway is Friday at 4:15 CST with live race coverage on Fox Sports 1 and live timing and scoring on arcaracing.com.
Top-DK-LOK Ford coming off of turn 3 at Pocono Raceway. Pocono only has 3 turns unlike most tracks that have 4.
Middle: DK-LOK Fusion getting 4 fresh Hoosiers and Sunoco fuel.