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Team ALLTEL Race Recaps 2003

Mobile 8-23-03-We unloaded a decent race car and tried to make it better. It seemed everything I did was backwards.  I turned in a horrible qualifying effort and it had us behind the 8 ball all night. We looked a little racy in the heat race and came home 2nd.  More changes for the feature and I made it worse.  We did finish 10th but we weren't a threat to win.   The big upside of the night was giving the kids rides in our cars during intermission.  I think I was lucky enough to take around 4 or 5 groups of kids.   I got everything from speed up to your scaring me.  Sounded like a typical family vacation.

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Mobile 8-16-03-ALLTEL Meet The Driver Night is always a fan favorite and Saturday night proved we have some of the most avid racing fans in the world on the Gulf Coast. Wet weather in Mobile & Saraland left a lot of fans thinking the races would be rained out but the hard core fans made the trip. The drivers responded with pictures, autograph cards and all types of novelty items for our fans. While the night is designed for the fans I think the drivers, including myself, are the big winners. Next weekend, we'll give the kids rides in our race cars during intermission.

Roland Rich from ALLTEL handing out trophies in victory lane.

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Adam Crawford

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Thomas Praytor

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Mobile 8-9-03-Shooting TV in Nashville.

Mobile 8-2-03-Team ALLTEL spent the last few weeks making major changes to the ALLTEL Pontiac prepping for ALLTEL Meet the Driver Night at Mobile International Speedway on Saturday, August the 16th. Saturday night was slated as an expanded test session with the team trying multiple race set ups. Our qualifying effort had us on the pole for the heat race and with that kind of track position we had to try and win. We led every lap until the back straight away of the final lap when the second place car turned us around and we spun into the infield grass. The car that spun us took the checkered flag as the winner but the track officials were waiting for him in the tech line, they disqualified him and took away what he thought was a win. With a lousy starting spot for the feature we had the opportunity to work on the car and we learned a lot to make our car something special for August 16th.

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Special Claxton Automotive Paint Scheme.

7-26-03-Shooting TV in Pocono

Mobile 7-19-03- Rained Out Again!

7-16-03-Tommy was invited to speak at the Sunshine Rotary Club on racing. It's not Tommy's first speech on racing but its probably a first for Mobile Country Club. The picture attached is Tommy demonstrating one of the new driver safety devices from G-Force racing.
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Mobile 7-5-03-Tracked closed Happy 4th of July!

Mobile 6-20-03-Rained Out!

Mobile 6-14-03-Shooting ARCA TV at Michigan International Speedway.

Mobile 6-7-03-Rained Out!

Mobile 5-31-03-The guys continue to give me solid cars as the season winds up its 2nd month. While we can't run for points, because of my travel schedule, it's interesting to see that we have climbed our way back up to 6th in the points standings after 3 straight DNFs at the end of April and we are only 1 point out of the top 5. Saturday was another solid day for the ALLTEL Pontiac with an 8th place qualifying run and a solid race performance with a 5th place finish.

Mobile 24th-Team ALLTEL Starts From The Pole-After a good run last week Team ALLTEL was looking forward to another week of racing. The ALLTEL Pontiac was good off the trailer and the guys tweaked it and made it even better. We turned a qualifying lap 2 tenths of a second faster than last weeks and like the ALLTEL Cup team we were starting from the pole. Jesse Reid started outside the front row, which made it an all Claxton powered front row (Second time this year, last time opening night, Reid was on the pole). It's fun racing with your friends and guys you can trust on the race track. Jesse and I put on a side by side show for a few laps before he got the better of me and took the lead. On the 5th lap I drove the car down into turn 3 and instead of turning left it made a hard right, the right front tire was flat. The guys changed the tire and got us back out, but the race stayed green and our competitive night was over.

Mobile May 17th-Team ALLTEL Ends A Busy Day With A Top Five-
Race day started early with the show car and I appearing at Gulf Link Wireless's sidewalk sale. The girls at Gulf Link put on a great sale, sold some phones and picked up some new customers. While I was at Gulf Link the guys were back at the shop putting the finishing touches on the ALLTEL Pontiac. The team has been working to overcome the mechanical problems created by the backwards airborne flight I took 3 weeks ago and the beating we took last week. Every time they worked on the car they found something else broken. Once again we found ourselves going to the track with a lot of unknowns. The first practice session was horrible, the car was loose on entry tight off and bottoming out. The guys started making changes and the second session was better but the car was still junk. More changes and qualifying netted us an 11th place started position. The car was still bad but the guys didn't give up. During the break they made major changes and solved new problems we found at the track. They replaced front shocks, fixed a leak in the oil pan, replaced the inner tire rod, changed the front roll center, raised the rear spring, reset the toe, filled it up with Maherg Racing Fuel and sent me back out. It didn't take long for me to realize they had given me a good race car. We quickly moved up into the top 10 then the top 5 and then we were nose to tail with the 1st and 2nd place car. The top 3 put on a good show put I couldn't get past either one and we ended up in 3rd place.

If the guys hadn't already been through enough, the track decided to do a full technical post race inspection of the top 5. We survived the race without damage, then the guys spent the next 2 hours taking apart the car for inspection. It was a fitting end to a a busy day and a testament to the guys who work on our race car.

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Show car at Gulf Link Wireless.

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Post race inspection.

Mobile May 10-After a string of DNFs (Did Not Finish) the ALLTEL Pontiac was starting to feel more like a ping pong ball than a race car. Out team worked overtime getting the car ready to go and still didn't make it to the track until after all the practice was over on Saturday night. The guys rolled the car off the trailer and the first laps we made were our qualifying laps. We qualified 12th, made some changes and took the green flag for the feature. We didn't make the first turn of the first lap when 1 of the guys took the field 3 wide and we ended up spinning off in the grass. That was the start of a long night that had us taking up the tail end several times but the team kept fighting back. When the dust settled we were able to soldier home a 7th place finish and we ended our streak of DNFs.

State of Alabama Tourism Calls Team ALLTEL

For the third straight year Team ALLTEL received a call from the State of Alabama Tourism Board to participate in Alabama Tourism Week. The ALLTEL show car has been at the Alabama Welcome Center since Saturday, May 10, and will be there until Saturday, May 17th. Activities are planned all week at the Welcome Center to greet visitors into Alabama. Deborah Stewart and her team at the Alabama Welcome Center welcome over 30,000 visitors a week and help them discover the State of Alabama.

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Mobile April 26-The team worked all week to get us back in shape.  Off the trailer we were OK but the guys made some changes and we quickly turned into a very good car.  We started the heat race thinking we might could pick up our first win of the year.  By the time we came off of turn 2 the car had been turned and was spinning down the back straight away.  The car came off the tracks across the infield hit the inside retaining wall, ramped up 6 feet over a protective mound backwards and finally came to a rest.  Another good car destroyed.  It willb e another long week at the shop.

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Mobile April 19- After a strong opening night performance our ALLTEL Team was looking for another good weekend. We had a poor qualifying effort because of changes I asked the team to make during practice. After I qualified 15th the guys worked overtime to reset the car to the previous weeks setup. They did an awesome job in a short time and when had a good car for the feature with a lousy starting spot. From the drop of the green flag the ALLTEL Pontiac was making its way up to the front and the lap times proved the guys had the car back in shape. Unfortunately, it can get ugly starting 15th in a 20 car field and it did for us. On lap 2 another car got loose and took the right front off the car while the car behind us got the drivers door. The wreck sent us to the back of a long line. While working our way back through 2 cars got tangled up in front of us, I thought we had that one missed except the car behind us never saw it, hit us in the rear and sent us head first into the 2 cars that were wrecking. That took the left front off the car and ended our night. The guys have been working overtime getting us back in shape for Saturday night. I've attached a picture of the car in its current state in the shop as we get ready for the weekend.

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Car back at the shop.

 

Mobile Opening Night 4-12 Every race team opens the season with new promise and a new attitude. We hoped to have our new car ready for opening night, it's still a work in progress, so we were a little down taking last years car back to the track. However, the guys made some changes to the car over the Winter and we rolled off the trailer with our fastest qualifying time ever. Our qualifying time put us on the outside of the front row. To roll off 2nd in a 20 car field to start the season filled with the new generation cars says a lot for the guys who work on our car. Of course outside the front row in a very competitive field makes you feel like the odd man out when the race starts, because everyone else gets to the bottom before you. So you go from 2nd to 9th or 10th and have long night working your way back up. When the dust finally settled we ended up 4th and a solid start to the season.