The ARCA Series returned to Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis for only the 5th time in its 62 year history for the Scott Get Geared Up 200 presented by Federated Car Care on Friday night. For Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his DK-LOK team their first Indy start was the culmination of a 2 week scramble preparing their favorite short track car “Black Betty” for return to racing.
“When we finally loaded the car in the trailer for Indy there wasn’t anyone left in Mobile that wasn’t whipped form working on our DK-LOK Ford,” said Praytor. What should have been 4 weeks to prepare was cut to 2 because the body company in North Carolina delivered the car 10 days late and half complete. “I was really proud of our team in Mobile and can’t thank all of our friends who pitched in over the last couple of weeks.”
Putting together a half completed car should have been an omen for the obstacles that lay ahead in Indy.
Off the trailer, Praytor was finding his way around a new track and quickly gained speed through the first practice. “Our car was really solid and all our components worked like clockwork thanks to our test in Mobile that caught a bad transmission. We struggled with drive off the corner but once the DK-LOK Ford got pointed straight our Roush Yates horsepower kicked in and we could run with anyone down the straightaway.”
After practice the team was preparing the DK-LOK Ford for qualifying and found a broken rear end cooler belt that led to a locked up oil pump. The team quickly pulled the entire rear end apart and put everything back together while in line for qualifying. Just about the time it was all back together Thomas’s Mom, who had been sweeping up the pit stall, handed the guys a piece of metal she had swept up. It was piece of the rear end pinion gear and the team was back in thrash mode taking out everything they had just put in. “We knew we were getting close to our qualifying time and I was out borrowing a gear, thanks to the guys at WinTron. Our guys got it put back together just as we went on the 5 minute clock.”
The 5 minute clock starts when it is your turn to qualify and you are not there to go. In this case the DK-LOK Ford had not even been through the tech line. The team hustled their Ford through tech and the driver was strapping in the car while the crew pushed the car down pit road. At the end of pit road the Moose fired up the DK-LOK Ford made 2 laps, picked up 2 tenths of a second from practice and would roll off 19th. ”Just getting in the race at that point seemed like a win. Our guys did a great job in a short period of time. Really appreciate WinTron loaning us a gear.”
With the car in the show and a suite full of employees and customers of FloSource, DK-LOKs Indiana Distributor, the Moose had a little time to relax during the running of the Jegs Late Model Race before the ARCA race.
“We spent Thursday night with the guys from FloSource in the suite and visited with them on Friday before the race. What a great group of people, had a lot of fun hanging out. Really appreciate them being on the car this weekend and supporting our race team.”
After watching Kyle Busch take home the Jegs CRA win in the opener of the double header at LOR the Moose climbed into his DK-LOK Ford and it was time to get down to business. With the drop of the green flag Praytor was fighting the same problem he had been all day. “Our DK-LOK Ford was sliding the nose off the corner causing the back end to step out keeping us from getting in the gas when we wanted to.” As the tires wore down the car got worse and the Moose was looking for a caution to make adjustments.
With a mid-race yellow Praytor came to pit road for the DK-LOK crew to make some major adjustments to free the car up off the corner. Unfortunately it was a short caution and the team had to make a choice, tires or adjustments. The call was made for adjustments, hoping for a quick caution so they could come back and get tires. As has been the case this year, there was no caution and a long green flag run ensued.
“Everyone got tires but us and we really got behind at the mid segment of the race. We finally got a caution and got some fresh Hoosiers and we were able to keep up but the long green flag run had us in a hole we couldn’t recover from.” The DK-LOK Ford rolled home to a 16th place finish.
“We didn’t get the finish we were looking for but there were a lot of positives coming out of Indy. Our crew had great stops and they did an awesome job getting the car in the race. We put our favorite short track car back in service and there isn’t a mark on it. Black Betty will be ready for Berlin in a couple of weeks. We had a great time with the folks from FloSource and look forward to going back to Indy.”
Another short week for the DK-LOK team with the Mod Space 125 at Pocono Raceway on Friday with coverage by Fox Sports 1 at 6:00 CST.
Picture: TOP-DK-LOK Ford racing with Ken Schrader during Great Scott 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway. BOTTOM-The Moose makes a suite visit with the folks from FloSource.