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The big boys came back to Alabama for the Fall version of 3 & 4 wide hold your breath for 500 miles racing.  Our cup team was unable to make the trip because we wrecked our primary super speedway car and we weren't able to get a replacement in time for the race.   Dan Pardus, our first cup driver, ran in the ARCA race the day before the cup race and we did a little cooking for the team.  Before it was over, Ward Davis and I helped with tires on pit stops.   Dan lead the race before being knocked out of the race under caution.   Sunday was another great day with a lot of great racing, with Dale Earnhardt taking the sweep of Talledega for the year.

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Race winner Dale Earnhardt.




tppardus.jpg (26223 bytes)Thats me giving Dan Pardus and his crew cheif a few pointers on set up for Talledega.  You can see they're more interested in my cooking.  Speaking of cooking Phil Huber got some great action shots of my cooking.  Thats all the action I get at Talledega.  Of course I keep taking my helmet just in case somebody needs a stand in.

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Picture Gallery from Talledega

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We took the week off from local racing, went to Bristol, watched a great race, the leader was spun on the last lap and a big controversy was started.  Wasn't it nice of those guys to make us feel like we were home.  Brain Yarber, Tom Claxton and I spent 2 days with the Midwest Transit Team having a great time and watching a lot of great racing.  The 50 team was working with a new car and was under the gun all weekend long.  They got the car in the field and quickly had problems that ultimately led to an early night. 

50garagebristol2.jpg (30800 bytes)Bristol really takes the teams back to their roots.  There are no garage areas and some of the cars were worked on at the trailer.  The points leaders got to work on pit road, but everybody else grabbed a spot and went to work.


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After getting the setup the 50 car makes it's way around the garage to the tech area.



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Ricky getting in to start the proccess of figuring out the set up.  It was great experience to watch & listen to the driver and crew working on makingthe car better.


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Rickey and the crew next to the car before the race.   Doesn't ricky look good in that suit?



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The crew making a stop trying to fix what couldn't be fixed.  It made for a short night after a long 2 days. 


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So what do you do when your car is out of the race.   Go sit on top of the trailer and watch the race.




On July 19th & 20th NASCAR held mandatory testing for all GM cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The Midwest Team and new driver Ricky Craven were fresh off a great run at Louden and were geared up for a run at the Brick Yard.  The team invited me  to testing with a catch, I had to cook.  Since it was testing, not a race, we had the only trailer cooking and we became one of the most popular stops going into the garage area.  During our 2 days there we had a chance to talk with most of the drivers, Jeff Gordon, Ward Burton, Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip, Mike Skinner, Steve Parks, Bobby Hamilton, Ernie Irvan, Rich Bickle (Fresh off his Pensacola win), Jeff Green and Ricky Craven. 

While we were there I had an opportunity to sit with Lake Speed in the stands and watch cars make laps.  Lake was kind enough to share with me what he was watching for and what was going on inside the car.  By the time we left I could see 1 or 2 things but Lake was still seeing 8 to 10.  Of course I'm an expert now, just ask me.   Tom Claxton made the trip and he did his radio show live from the Brick Yard.   Tom  was the only reporter there doing a live show and he had a great group of drivers and crew chiefs contribute to the show.  I've attached some pictures but I was so busy I really didn't get the great shots like I normally do, I didn't even get a shot of our new driver Ricky Craven.

gasolinealley7-20-99.jpg (19947 bytes)When you walk into Gasoline Alley for the first time you can feel the history of Indy.  The next thing you notice is how narrow the track is and how close the stands are to the track.  The drivers talk about going down the front straight away and feeling like they are driving into a sea of people.

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The Midwest Transit Indy test car.  I can't belive this is the only picture I took of the car or our team.  That's Jay Born doing what he does best, leaning on the car.



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Rich Bickle fresh from his win at Pensacola at stop and go.  He was 4th fastest at Indy and then but in a top 10 at Pocono. 



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OK, he looks like a little old lady at an outdoor church social but that's Lake Speed hiding under that umbrella.



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Jeff Gordon's Indy test car.  They lagged all day Monday and went out with a fresh set of stickers at teh end of the day and smoked the 2nd fastest lap of the day.


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Hot rookie driver Tony Stewart, next to his Home Depot Pontiac.  The biggest joke in the garage area is those yellow rookie stripes on the rear bumper.



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Indy was not without incident Steve Park demolished his backup car.  Steve was OK but the car needs a doctor.



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Pocono winner Bobby Labonte in his Indy test car.

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To celebrate the all of the truckers who log over 150,000 miles a day carrying the US Mail for Midwest Transit Trucking the 50 team is unavailing a new paint scheme for the Winston.

scenes from Talledega
Dan Pardus and the entire Midwest transit race team worked over time trying to make the field and missed by 6 100ths of a second.  They snapped a drive shaft on Friday afternoon in first round qualifying and had to completely rebuild the drive system in the car, starting with the engine and working all the way through the rear end before 11:00 AM the next morning.   To give you an idea of how hard this is the garage closed at 6:00 and didn't open again until the next morning at 7:00.  I had a chance to cook lunch for the team Friday and some people say the Fat Boy menu slowed us down.    Look for the Midwest Team with a new paint scheme at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte.

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In the tech line before first round qualifying.  The tall guy in the middle is crew chief Jay born.  some of you may recognize him as Scott Carlson's crew chief from the Snowball.


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Thets me talking with the only cup driver I can sub for, Ken Buchard, driver of the Island Oasis, 84 car.


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All the big shots were at Talledega, Jamie & Tommy Praytor (Mom & Dad) inspecting pit road before the race.


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Even after a complete replacement of the underside of the car on Saturday morning we still had to pack up and go home.



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Dan Pardus gets ready to make another test run in the Midwest Transit Racing Monte Carlo.


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The Midwest Hauler in line during testing.


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Sterling Marlin had the fast car during 2 days of testing.



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Tom Claxton & Tommy looking important on top of the hauler.  We did Tom's radio show live from the speed during testing.


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Dale Earnhardt talking over the handling of his car.



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Ray Evernham talking with Bobby Hillin who was subbing for Jeff Gordon.



DAN-TOMMY.jpg (29652 bytes)Praytor Animation Links with Mid West Transit Racing

On March 1, 1999 at Atlanta Motor Speedway we announced our associate sponsorship with Mid West Transit Racing and driver Dan Pardus.   Our association is immediate but because we are an Alabama based company we wanted our stickers to debut at Talladega in April.  Dan Pardus is an exciting rookie driver in Winston Cup Racing who made a name for himself in 1998 when he made the field in Daytona with an independant effort. The team will run Hendrick Motors and plan on a full schedule.

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Dan Pardus




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Tommy Praytor



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Tom Claxton, Dan Pardus & Tommy Praytor, doing Claxton's Radio show live from Atlanta


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The Mid West Transit Racing Monte Carlo all decked out and ready to go!


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New Atlanta car during test session.