Tommy Praytor Photo's
11-04-06 The last time I turned a lap at Pensacolas Five Flags Speedway was the Snowball Derby in 2005. With all that has happened since, last years Derby seems like it was a lifetime ago. Our guys spent the last few weeks prepping our Alltel machine for our first test session at Pensacola. A new car at a track for the first time is always cause for an anxiety attack, add the last few months of inactivity and it will keep you up at night. After a few laps of knocking the rust off, OK maybe more than a few, we started to make head way on making our car faster. Our test gave us a list of changes a legal pad long to accomplish before we go back again. In previous Derbys we were one of the cars to watch, this time well be one of the cars to watch out for.
Our Alltel team finished the installation of my new ISP seat with new G-Force Racing belts this week and we're ready for a full day of testing at Pensacola's Five Flags Speedway. While the regular racing season ended a few weeks ago the activity in our shop has been wide open preparing for the 39th Annual Snowball Derby and the 2007 racing season. The weeks leading up to the Derby will be busy, test this weekend, 2 show car appearances next weekend along with MIS Banquet, Homestead Miami Speedway the next and Thanksgiving weekend we'll move the hauler to Five Flags Speedway. All that will keep us busy but in the immortal words of Gene Autry I just want to be "Back in the saddle again." Tommy
SEAT-READY TO START
ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
To say that this deal has gone better than I deserve would be an understatement. The surgery itself went off without a hitch and a day later the doctors would deliver the big verdict. The tumor was cancer, which was expected, and then it was all good news. All of the pathology reports and the visual inspection of the all the adjoining organs, tissues etc say that the cancer was contained to the tumor that was removed. As Dr. Sanderson told me, I cant give you a better report than what Im giving you now. It was like hearing my favorite words in the racecar, Your clear. The plan over the ensuing months and years is for me to be continually checked and tested to make sure the cancer doesnt come back and if it does we catch it soon enough to treat it.
I cant thank everyone enough for their support over these past few weeks. Cards, calls, emails, flowers, plants it has all been overwhelming and I really appreciate it. Over the next few weeks Ill be rehabbing to get back up to full strength. I made an appearance at the race shop on Wednesday and I plan on being on hand this weekend at Mobile International Speedway for the OReilly Super Truck Series on Saturday night.
TOMMY PRAYTOR OUT FOR REST OF 2006 REGULAR SEASON
Three weeks ago I was diagnosed with a tumor about the size of a 4" potato on my left kidney that the doctors believe is kidney cancer. Because more than 90% of kidney tumors are cancer, we are undertaking an aggressive treatment program. Later this week I will undergo surgery to remove my left kidney. Thats the bad news. The good news is that I have completed a battery of other test and it appears that the cancer is limited to the left kidney only. I'll be laid up a few days in the hospital and then several weeks for a complete recovery. Because of the type of surgery, I have been told by the doctors that driving a racecar over the next couple of months is not a very good idea. Therefore Ill miss the balance of the 2006 regular season at Mobile and Pensacola. Im grateful to our long time sponsor, Alltel for their continued support and standing behind me over the next couple of months as I heal up. Our Max Force Racing team will continue to send Thomas to Mobile International Speedway on race night as he closes in on capturing the Rookie of the Year title and a top 5 in the Championship standings. For me, my goal is to be back in the Alltel Late Model for the 39th Annual Snowball Derby at Pensacola Five flags Speedway in December.
TommyBIG TIME AT RONALD McDONALD HOUSE NIGHT 7-8-06- Mobile International speedway rolled out the red carpet for the Hawaiian themed Ronald McDonald House and the fans loved it. With it raining everywhere in Mobile except the race track, only the heartiest of fans made their way to the high banked oval for Ronald McDonald House and as usual their enthusiasm for RMH and the Speedway showed during intermission. While the fans settled into the stands for some racing on the track our Alltel Late Model was doing a little bit of Hawaiian hula dance all by itself. The first night at the track for any racecar is always an adventure and for our Alltel team Saturday night would be no different. We changed more on our car on Saturday night than most teams change in a month. We tried 3 different gears 2 springs a spring rubber and a sway bar adjustment before most of the fans got in their seats. The hard work by the guys paid off with a solid qualifying effort that put us in the 6th spot and just a few tenths off the leaders. Along with a new car on Saturday night Thomas was also racing the Outdoor Channel Pontiac in the Super Stock division. While the team was thrashing on the Alltel machine the Moose broke a motor during practice and it sent us scrambling looking for a ride to borrow for the night. Bo Wilkinson saved the day for us with his car and the Moose stayed in the hunt for the Rookie of the Year title and remained in the top 5 in points. With Thomas racing I was doing double duty from the spotters stand for Thomas and back to my car to race. For the heat race I was a late getting in line and missed my spot so I had to take up the tail end. Not where I wanted to be so we ended up using the heat as a test for the feature, thats where they pay the money for RMH. During intermission the RMH folks helped us distribute USA T-shirts and support bands to the fans. (See Picture above, courtesy of Gerald Hodges)
From the drop of the green flag I felt like we had decent car but all the cars in the field were pretty evenly matched with less than 7 tenths of second separating the pole to last guy in the field. Track position would be the key. We started picking off cars slowly 1 by 1, running side by side with some for several laps before being able to clear them. We raced our way into the top 5 when a couple of guys got together in front of us, I checked up to miss them and the guy behind me just didnt see it and he sent me into the spin cycle. With 10 to go I had to take up the tail end of the field again. I tried to get a rolling start and move to the outside of the line in front of me on the start. I was a little slow on the trigger and the kid from Texas beat me to the punch and he had me pinned down. On the next lap one of the guys went off the track in front of me and I had to check up and go high to miss him killing our momentum. He got his car gathered back up so there was no caution and we were trapped way back looking for a caution to gather the field back up that never happened. We finished 7th but felt like we left a lot on the table.Checks are still coming in for RMH and if you didnt get a chance to contribute Saturday night you can still do so. Please send them to our shop at 3828 Michael Blvd., Mobile, AL 36609. We cant thank the Speedway enough for hosting this event and matching our winnings on the track. And of course the folks at AIG American General for stepping in this year to help financially and with their most important asset their people. Thanks again to everyone.
TEAM ALLTEL BEGINS TESTING
Months of hard work came to fruition as Team Alltel tested the latest Max Force Racing machine at Mobile International Speedway this week. As has become tradition with our race team we tested the new Alltel late model with no stickers. Now that the shake down cruise has been completed well add the Alltel logos to our Alltel paint scheme and get ready to get down to business for our annual fund raiser for Ronald McDonald House on July the 8th. Well be a little behind the teams that have had an opportunity to fine tune their machines all year but we were very happy with our first test and will test again on July 3rd to get better for RMH.The plans for Ronald McDonald House Night just seem to get bigger every year. This year we are proud to announce that AIG American General has joined the RMH team. Each year MIS matches what we win on the racetrack and this year AIG American General has agreed to match that too! Well add what the fans donate at the track plus what our customers have donated all year at the store and we hope to make the number bigger than weve ever given before. Join us at Mobile International Speedway on July the 8th as we go Hawaiian for Ronald McDonald House. Free Hawaiian Leis, USA T Shirts and USA Support Bands. Plus space jump and games for kids from AIG American General. Picture attached is of the Alltel Late Model testing at Mobile International Speedway.