Since wrapping up his first ARCA top 10 a year ago Thomas "Moose" Praytor has been waiting to return to the 3/8ths mile bull ring in Elko Minnesota. Years of competing at 5 Flags Speedway was the perfect training for the flat, slick surface that is Elko Speedway.
Off the trailer the Moose's DK-LOK Chevy was faster than last year’s car and the team was looking forward to another good night in the Akona 250 presented by Menards with Praytor starting in the 16th position.
With the CBS Sports Network cameras rolling for the networks first ever live broadcast of a stock car race, Mobile's Grant Enfinger jumped to an early lead. The caution flags flew early and often over the first 75 laps and Praytor in his DK-LOK machine worked their way up to the 12th spot.
"The first few laps at Elko you’re driving more defensively than anything else, you can't have a good night if you get tangled up in the first few cautions," said Praytor. "Our car was good but we knew we were better on the long runs as the tires fell off so we were biding our time."
With frequent early cautions out of the way the race took on a green flag look and the race remained green for over 100 laps.
The torrid pace being set by Enfinger put all but 7 cars a lap or more down. With the caution out the DK-LOK team gambled and stayed on track to get a lap back while the rest of the field pitted for fresh tires and fuel. The move put Praytor back in position to have a top 10 finish, but the team needed a quick caution in order for the gamble to pay off.
It could not have gone worse for the DK-LOK team as the race went green until the finish. Not only did Praytor not get a quick caution for fresh Hoosiers and fuel he didn't get a caution at all as the race went green to the finish. On top of not being able to keep up on old tires ARCA rules mandate you must make at least one pit stop before 10 laps to go, to keep from being penalized 5 laps Praytor had to bring his DK-LOK Chevy to pit road under green costing him 3 laps and ending up with a 15th place finish.
"Congratulations to Grant (Enfinger), Kelly (Kovski), Howard (Bixman) and everybody at Team BCR, they had a great car all day and just really whipped everybody tonight. We were really disappointed with our effort tonight, we thought Elko was a place we could put our DK-LOK Chevy back in the top 10. We were actually faster here than we were last year but the competition is getting faster too. Winchester is up next, we had a top 10 finish there last year and we'll keep digging back at the shop and see if we can't get our DK-LOK Chevy a little better."