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Thomas "Moose" Praytor

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2009 Race Recaps
Moose Schedule and Results

 

 

MIS BANQUET CLOSES OUT 2009 SEASON


Thomas Praytor Mobile 1-9-09: With the calendar having turned to 2010 the Moose wrapped up some unfinished business from the 2009 season with Mobile International Speedway’s Championship banquet. A top 5 in the Lee Fields Memorial season finale gave the Moose a 5th place finish in the Midwest Cooling Towers Championship standings and a share of the Championship points fund. The 2009 season was a challenging one, with our team overcoming adversity after adversity to keep our G-Force machine going to the racetrack.

 

Thomas: “What a year! Our team did the impossible so many times we don’t even know what is impossible anymore. Our 2009 season was tough but I think it made us a better race team. Changing to the GARC chassis and the support we get from the Grill’s is huge. I can’t thank G-Force and all of our sponsors enough for their support. We’ve already started working on 2010 and can’t wait for March.”

 

Picture: The Moose with family, friends and team at MIS Championship Banquet.

 

MOOSE ENDS 2009 SEASON IN DAYTONA

 

 

Thomas Praytor Daytona, Florida 12-20-09: The Moose closed out the 2009 racing season with Grant Enfinger at the ARCA test at Daytona International Speedway. Fortunately for the Moose, the national media’s attention was focused on Danica Patrick turning her first laps in a stock car allowing the Moose to work in relative anonymity as a regular crew member without the normal media spotlight. The Moose and his car chief Ben Lee spent 3 days at the World Center of Speed helping Mobile’s Enfinger dial in his Beasley Allen Ford Fusion for the ARCA opener in February. The Beasley Allen team brought the same car Enfinger finished 3rd with last year at Talladega Superspeedway. Rain shortened the first day to 3 laps on track and the team spent Saturday and most of Sunday working on qualifying runs with drafting practice on Sunday afternoon. Enfinger was 10th quickest in the final drafting practice with over 60 drivers slated for this weekends test.    

 

Thomas: “What an experience to get an opportunity to work with Grant on an ARCA car at Daytona. I really appreciate Grant letting us come down for the test. Working as a crewmember for another driver and another crew chief was a real learning experience for me. I learned a lot and was pretty comfortable with what I was doing until they sent me up to spot. I’ve spotted for my Dad since I was 11 or 12 but I was really nervous, come on this is Daytona. Up on the roof one of Rick Crawford’s spotters, Calvin, helped me out and there were some other spotters who knew my Dad, they kept me out of trouble. Grant didn’t hit anything so I think it worked out. We’ve got to get back and get to work on our car, we’re trying to talk our owner into racing the Ice Cold Shriners Bowl in Lanier Georgia in January.”

 

Pictures left to right: Left: Thomas setting tire pressures on Beasley Allen Ford Fusion. Middle: The Moose and Ben Lee push Enfinger in front of Danica Patrick’s Go Daddy Chevy. This was as close as the pair would get to the open wheel star. Right: A new side on the Beasley Allen Fusion required a temporary number. Because the Moose supplies all the stickers for Enfinger’s ARCA cars he got the task of improvising a number for the test.


B
USY DECEMBER KEEPS ROLLING WITH PRI SHOW

 

 

Thomas Praytor Orlando, FL 12-12-09: With the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby in the rear view mirror the Moose headed to Orlando Florida for the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show. The PRI show features over 1,200 racing exhibitors in a million square foot convention center. Our team has been attending the show for years, in order to find new equipment and an opportunity to meet with the vendors we talk to by phone all year long. G-Force, VDL Carburetors, Hans, CV Products, Brakeman Brakes, Gale Force Suspensions, Penske, Quartermaster, ISP Seats, Gibbs Racing Oil, Intercomp, Longacre, Racing Electronics, Pitboxes.com, Champion Systems and Hedman Headers are just a few of the vendors at the show that we use on our G-Force Fusion every day. Having the chance to talk with our suppliers face to face gives us an opportunity to discuss issues we’ve had during the year and new technology they may have developed or are developing that we can use in the future. When we bought Midnight earlier this year, we inherited a set of Brakeman brakes on our car. Brakeman brakes are some of the best in business but are not well known in this area. The brakes have worked flawlessly and meeting with the folks at Brakeman was high on our list.  The show gave us an opportunity to meet with Warren Gilliland, CEO Brakeman Brakes in person.  Our meeting gave us an opportunity to get advice and tips on how to make our car go faster not just from the company, but from the man who designed them. Like the MasterCard commercial “priceless”. While it is the “off season” there is no time for rest, the Moose and some of our Max Force team will be headed to Daytona International Speedway to help Grant Enfinger test for the ARCA ReMax series race in February. 

 

Thomas: “The PRI show is incredible, you really can’t see it all in 2 days. I always enjoy dropping by the G-Force booth and seeing all the new gear they will be launching in 2010. They always have cool equipment in development to help racers. I really appreciate Mr. Warren (Gilliland) spending so much time with us talking about our brake system. The new air box from 5-Star is cutting edge and the design will help solve a problem we deal with almost weekly. So many products so little time.” 

 

Pictures: Left Jeremy Curtis & Thomas at G-Force Booth, right 1 aisle of the 100 or more at PRI.


DERBY HEARTBREAK



Thomas Praytor Pensacola 12-6-09: A month of prep work followed by 3 days of practice at 5 Flags Speedway for the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby’s Allen Turner Snowflake 100 all came down to 2 laps on Saturday afternoon. Last year the team turned a 17.58 second lap just missing the field. On Saturday morning a mock qualifying run produced a 17.12 second lap and the team had high hopes of making the top 30. During the morning run the weather was overcast and very cold, by the 3:00 in the afternoon the skies had cleared and the temperature was 20 degrees higher than our morning practice session. The warmer track made our G-force Fusion tight in the center scrubbing off speed producing a lap time of 17.21 seconds. Last year the Moose would have been 7th, this year it would be 4 one hundredths of a second too slow and the Moose was forced to the last chance race. Only the top 2 finishers from the last chance race transfer to the main event. The Moose started 3rd and was battling for the 2nd spot when the 4th place competitor and ARCA ReMax Series driver body slammed the G-Force Fusion in turn 4. A great save by the Moose kept the team from buying another racecar but it also put the Moose at the tail end of the field. With the Derby hopes fading the Moose was in full charge putting the horn to anyone who stood between him and the transfer spot. By the time our G-Force Fusion returned to the hauler the hood was crushed, the left fender had been pushed in 6 inches, the right front fender had been pushed back into the tire and was taking chunks of rubber out of the right front tire each time it turned and the right rear had been cut ending the race with only 4 pounds of air instead of 30. Our car was just like our driver, there just wasn’t anything left to give and unfortunately, there wasn’t enough laps left to get back to 2nd and a Derby start would have to wait another year.

 

While the Derby is in the record books, there is no rest for the Moose, finals Monday and Tuesday at South Alabama and then later this week the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando, Florida.

 

Thomas: “I really don’t know what to say, this deal is really tough. Last year we had no shot and almost made it, this year we had a really god shot and just missed it. We were almost 4 tenths faster than we were last year and still didn’t get in. Our program is making huge strides forward but it’s hard to look at it like that when you miss a race. All of our guys worked their butts off and I really appreciate the extra effort they but in for this race and all year. We’ll keep working.”  

 

Picture: G-Force Fusion taped up and ready for qualifying.

MOOSE RUMBLING IN DERBY PRACTICE

    
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 12-4-09: The 42nd Annual snowball Derby started slowly for everyone as torrential rains flooded the Gulf Coast on Tuesday night turning the infield at 5 Flags Speedway into a lake. It took half a day of pumping water to get the track in enough condition to start the move in process for 140 late model teams. The task normally takes 2 hours, it took 5 on Wednesday. Technical inspection went well into the night with the Moose sheperding his G-Force Fusion through the toughest tech line in short track racing on his own while his crew chief was doing Fausak Tires Inside Alabama Racing. After a really good test, the team had high expectations for practice on Thursday. Changing weather and track conditions left our Max Force team searching for answers as the team struggled to get a handle on the old battered racing surface. We tried everything we knew and still stunk the joint up on Thursday. We left the track with most of the team on suicide watch. A round of changes and a new set of tires and the Moose rumbled up to 6th quick in the morning practice session and 12th quickest of the day out of 68 cars taking time. The team spent the rest of the day working on keeping the car from bottoming out during qualifying. A short practice session in the morning followed by qualifying tomorrow afternoon and racing tomorrow night.

DERBY CAR RECEIVES FINAL PREP

 

Thomas Praytor Pensacola 11-29-09: The weeks leading up to the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby are now down to days as our Max Force team puts the finishing touches on our G-Force Ford Fusion. Midnight left the track 2 weeks ago ready to race and the team has spent the last 2 weeks going over every nut, bolt and system on our car. Extra attention to detail is needed because the competition level is so tough to get in the Derby. This year’s Derby already has over 140 late model entries led by NASCAR’s Kyle Busch. The Moose will be trying to make the 34 car field in only his 2nd Late Model start at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. A new setup from chassis builder and former Derby Winner, Augie Grill, based on our test results have been installed and the team is ready to load the hauler on Monday night for a Tuesday night delivery to 5 Flags Speedway. The team will spend Wednesday going through technical inspection with practice beginning on Thursday.    

 

Thomas: “I know I keep saying this is the best car we’ve ever taken out of our shop and it’s going to have to be to get in this field. I really feel like our 1 car all volunteer team from Mobile has a shot at making the race. We’ve got a couple of little things left to do but we’re ready to go, its gonna be hard to wait until Thursday to get on the track.”


MOOSE RUMBLES AT DERBY TEST


Thomas Praytor, Pensacola 11-14-09: With just over 2 weeks before the teams move in to Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway for the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby the Moose made his first appearance at the Speedway since last years Derby. Not only was it his first laps at 5 Flags this year it was his first laps in the Grill chassis we acquired earlier this year. Even though it had been a year since he turned a lap at the battered old track, the Moose soon felt right at home. Within 20 laps the Moose was turning lap times faster than last years qualifying effort and fast enough to make last year’s field and he was just making laps. While those times would have been good enough for last years field, we’ve still got some work to do to make this year’s lineup. The racing surface at 5 Flags hasn’t been paved since the 60’s and every corner eats the rubber off the tires and with every green flag lap the handling goes away. Finding a setup to get in the field is job 1, finding one that will last over 100 laps is just as important. The team spent the day trying different setup combinations and working on making Midnight tick over a long green flag run.  Another question mark headed into the day was our motor. The freshened McGunegill Ford motor performed flawlessly and reminded everyone why we changed to McGunnigell. The final piece of business before leaving Pensacola was having our new motor inspected and sealed by tech man Ricky Brooks. The team will spend the next 2 weeks putting the finishing touches and winding Midnight’s clock for the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby.

 

Thomas: “I’ve turned a lot of laps at 5 Flags and we’ve never had a car handle like our car did today. We had a big group helping us today and it really allowed us to try a lot of different things. We probably got 2 or 3 test sessions out of this 1-day test. Can’t thank the Grill’s and McGunegill enough for giving us really good equipment. We’ve still got some work to do to run with the NASCAR crowd but I wish we were moving in for the Derby this week.”

 

Picture: Moose strapping in for a round of testing for the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby at Pensacola’s Five Flags Speedway.

100% FORD READY FOR DERBY TESTING

 

Thomas Praytor-Pensacola, FL:  After limping through the final 2 races at Mobile International Speedway with an old 604 Chevy in a Ford Fusion body, better known as a Fupala, our Max Force machine is now back to 100% Ford. McGunegill Engine Performance delivered the freshly rebuilt Ford power plant earlier this week and the team has it in place and running. With the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby less than a month away, the Moose is ready to make his first laps at Pensacola’s Five Flags Speedway this season with an all day test planned for Saturday. This year’s entry list for the Derby already has over 100 late models trying to make this year’s field. Notable entries with NASCAR ties include Ross Kenseth, Steven Wallace, David Stremmie and NASCAR’s bad boy Kyle Busch.

 

Thomas: “I’m pumped up about this years Derby. A lot of guys are shying away from the Derby because the NASCAR guys are coming, I’m looking forward to it. We know they have better equipment and it gives us an opportunity to see where we need to make our car better. Pensacola has been a lot of just misses for us. We just missed a championship 2 years ago, we just missed the Derby last year, this year we ain’t missing nothing.”


MOOSE JUST MISSES TOP 10
 

 

Thomas Praytor Mobile, Alabama 10-24-09:  After biting on the Bryant challenge for the Pro-Late Models at the season finale at Mobile International Speedway the Moose and his G-Force team went to work on preparing for the 100 lap event. The idea for this race was to use the 100 lap Miller Lite Super Late Model race as a test for future 100 lap Pro-Late Model race at MIS. Two weeks ago the team had a top 5 in a car they made better after the drop of the green flag with numerous pit stops. Knowing we couldn’t compete with the Super Late Models, the goal this week was to have a top 5 Pro Late Model from the start to the end of the race. With our primary motor still being rebuilt, the team rolled out our old 604 motor and once again took a Fupala to the track. Our entire weekend was based on making a good 100-lap race event, not just qualifying, but the entire race and weekend. The Moose and the guys tweaked on the G-Force machine Friday night and Saturday afternoon and turned a qualifying lap 3 tenths of a second faster than we did at the Lee Fields and just a tenth off of our best time ever. Practicing with some of the best Late Model drivers in the country was already paying dividends. Our plan for the race was simple, stay out of trouble, work on making the best out of what we had with no pit stops and if there was a chance to race for the Bryant Bonus Bucks with 20 or less to go we’d turn the Moose loose. With the drop of the green flag we found out that we had accomplished goal #2, and our changes from qualifying to the race were solid and the Moose was quick from the beginning. As the laps went on our Fupala turned a tick tight and the Moose worked on adjusting his driving style to suit the handling characteristics of the car, getting the most out of a non-perfect situation. With 30 laps to go the Moose went a lap down to the Super Late Model race winner and was looking for a caution to get back on the lead lap. The caution finally came but with less than 10 laps to go and the Moose was trapped a lap down with the next closest Pro-Late Model 1 spot in front of him but on the lead lap. An 11th place finish in the race and a 2nd place Pro-Late Model finish was a solid end to our weekend long test session.

 

Thomas: “We could run with the Super’s in the corners but when it came time to hit the gas they looked like rocket ships and they went off and left me. Its’ hard to get your butt kicked like we did and still say you had a good weekend but we really did. I was hoping we would sneak our way into the top 10 and pick up the bonus but we came up 1 spot short. We’ve got a busy couple of weeks coming up; swapping the 604 out for our Ford motor and this weekend is the truck race at Talladega. We learned a lot this weekend and I’m pretty pumped up about testing for the Derby.”

 

Picture: Fupala going through technical inspection. The decision to race was last minute and we didn’t have a chance to change out the Lee Fields Hood.

 

MOOSE BITES ON BRYANT CHALLENGE

 


Thomas Praytor Mobile, Alabama 10-22-09: After a top 5 run in the Lee Fields Memorial 100 that landed the Moose in the top 5 in the Midwest Cooling Towers Pro Late Model Division at Mobile International Speedway our Max Force team should be prepping for the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. Instead, our team is putting the finishing touches on our G-Force Fupala for the final Miller Lite Super Late Model Series race at Mobile International Speedway. Prior to this weekend no Pro-Late Model has competed against a Super Late Model at MIS. The Pro-Late Model crate motors are at a distinct disadvantage to the high dollar Super Late Model motors that can run 2-3 tenths of a second faster on the high banks of Mobile International Speedway. So why race? Tim Bryant, owner promoter of Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway and Hoosier Tire distributor for the Gulf Coast, has issued a Pro Late Model Bounty for this weekends race that’s awards the highest finishing Pro Late Model a $500 bonus on top of the normal payout. Racing for bragging rights in a Miller Lite Super Late Model race was like dangling a red flag in front of our team and the Moose rushed in.

 

Thomas: “We’re probably going to get the crap beat out of us by the Supers but we’re using this weekend to learn more about our car that is basically brand new. We had a pretty good car at the Lee Fields Memorial but it took a bunch of pit stops to get it that way. We hope this weekend we can learn how to make our car better from the start. The extra 100 laps will be a great test session for the Derby. Plus I couldn’t resist trying to pick up some of Mr. Tim’s money.”  

 

MOOSE SQUEAKS IN TO TOP 5
IN FINAL MIS CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS


 


Thomas Praytor Mobile, AL 10-15-09: A 5th place finish in the Lee Fields Memorial 100 leap frogged the Moose into the top 5 in the final Championship standings in the Midwest Cooling Towers Pro-Late Model Division. When the final points were tallied at Mobile International Speedway the Moose squeaked into the top 5 by just 2 points. Just 1 position less at anytime during the season would have put the Moose and his G-Force team out of the top 5, that’s close.

 

Thomas: “After everything we’ve been through this year, to end up in the top 5 in points is really incredible. I want to thank G-Force and all of our guys for a great season. The Grill’s at Grand American Race Car really took our program up a notch and here at the end of the year we’ve had some really fast cars. I’m looking forward to the Snowflake at Pensacola.”

 

MOOSE WRESTLES FUPALA TO 5TH
IN LEE FIELDS MEMORIAL


Thomas Praytor-Mobile International Speedway 10-10-09: The 2009 season at Mobile International Speedway has been a rough road for the Moose and his Max Force Race team. The last 2 races at MIS have both sent his G-force machine back to the chassis builder to be repaired. The bad luck continued in the week leading up to the season ending Lee Fields Memorial 100. A Tuesday practice session with basically a new car was cut short with a blown motor and the team scrambling for a replacement. Unable to find a Ford, the team fell back on it’s old worn out Chevy. An Impala power plant inside a Fusion body created a Fupala. In less than 48 hours the team converted back to the Chevy power plant and was back at the track to test. The test on Thursday did not go well and our Fupala ran more like Fupoopoo. The team was slated for another practice session at MIS but after the test on Thursday night our driver took sick with the stomach flu bug. While the Moose was loosing liquids the team was installing an untested never used set up, our version of a “Hail Mary” for a severely underpowered car. The team would have a 1-hour practice session on Saturday to dial in their Fupala before qualify for the season finale. Off the trailer the changes had the Moose headed in the right direction and 4th on the speed chart. For qualifying the team kept going in the direction they had been during practice and went a little too far with the Moose hanging on to a very loose race car for a 9th place starting spot. Very few races run according to plan but the front end of the 2009 Lee Fields Memorial went our way and the team was able to make changes to our Fupala. As the laps wound down the Moose was closing in on 3rd and 4th but needed a caution to gain track position. After the week we’ve had leading up to the Lee Fields Memorial, a top 5 seemed like a win. The Moose entered the final night of racing at MIS outside of the top 5 in points and we’ll see if the top 5 run is enough to get him in the top 5 in the Midwest Cooling Tower Championship points standings when the final points standings are posted.

 

Thomas: “What a week, we blew our good motor on Tuesday and there was a point on Tuesday night and Wednesday when we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get back together for Saturday. By Thursday night we had our old motor in and were back at the track. I got sick after testing on Thursday night and we had to cancel a Friday night test we really needed. I was beginning to think it just wasn’t meant for us to race. I didn’t get out of bed until it was time to go to the track on Saturday and all of our team did a heck of a job getting our Fupala ready to go. Even though we were down on power we had a really good car. I appreciate Mr. Rick (Crawford) helping me out with my driving. It was a great end to a rough week and a rough season.”

 

Picture: Fupala with special pink Lee Fields Memorial hood. Lee was a big fan of pink; he even drove a Pink Panther racecar.


 

FUPALA READY TO TEST

 

Thomas Praytor 10-8-09 Mobile: After a blown motor at Tuesday nights test our Max Force Race team has been scrambling to put together a car for this weekends Lee Fields Memorial 100. Much like the Johnny Cash song, we got it one piece at a time. There are bits and pieces of cars we’ve raced over the last 10 years in the car we will take to testing tonight at Mobile International Speedway. The team had prepared a new Ford Fusion for this weekends Memorial but the blown motor forced the team to rebuild the inside of the car from the Ford power plant to accept a Chevy. A little Ford Fusion a little Chevy Impala and whole bunch of pieces that we’re not sure what kind of car they came from and we’re taking our first Fupala to the track.

 

Thomas: “We’ve been at it almost non-stop yesterday and today swapping back from a Ford to a Chevy. It took us 3 weeks to swap from Chevy to Ford and less than 48 hours to swap back. We probably would be sitting at home this week if it wasn’t the Lee Fields Memorial. We wouldn’t haven’t a place to race without Mr. Lee and it is important for our race team to be there. We’ll see what happens.”
 


MOTOR ISSUE SLOWS PROGRESS

Thomas Praytor, Max Force Race Shop, 9-21-09: The Moose and his team spent a long weekend at the race shop piecing together their Grand American Race Car after the Grill’s put on a new front clip and then some. The pain staking process was slowed over the weekend when the team noticed a problem on the front of their McGunegill motor. As part of the prep work, the team sent the motor back to McGunegill to have the front rebuilt (the crash crushed the front pieces, alternator, water bump, etc) and the motor put on the dyno to make sure it would be ready for the Lee Fields Memorial on October 10th at Mobile International Speedway. The freshly rebuilt pulley system was out of line and after pictures were sent to McGunigell’s shop in Muncie Indiana, McGunegill decided they wanted to get the motor back to fix the problems. In what can only be described as the ultimate in customer service, Mac McGunegill is driving down from Muncie to pick it up and take it back to be fixed. While the motor is being worked on the team has a lot of other projects to occupy their time.


MIDNIGHT BACK IN SHOP

 

Thomas Praytor Max Force Race Shop 9-14-09: After a week at the Grill’s, Grand American Race Cars in Dolomite, Alabama, Midnight returned to our shop to complete the rebuild process. Frank and Augie Grill did their own version of chop, cut, rebuild on the crippled G-Force machine. As can be seen from the picture, the part that is not painted is everything that was replaced-the entire front clip, front window bar and door bars along the right side. In addition to those parts being replace the G-Force machine was put on the GARC custom made jig to make sure that every part that wasn’t replaced was where it should be. Along with the new pieces the Grill’s installed some upgrades to Midnight that will allow the front of the car to get lower in the turns. Back in the shop the team started painting the new tubes and the tedious process of re-hanging all the moving parts on the car after each piece is checked for any damage. Once all the suspension pieces are in place the roof  (can be seen in background) and the back half of the body will be reinstalled. After 2 days of trucker duty hauling Midnight back and forth from Birmingham the Moose was ready to get work. “The craftsmanship the Grill’s have in putting a car together is incredible. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to be ready for the Lee Field Memorial at Mobile (International Speedway).” With the rain canceling last Saturday night’s races there is a slight glimmer of hope that the Moose can get back into the top 5 in the Midwest Cooling Towers championship standings.

 

 

MOVIE PREMONITION OF WEEKEND


Thomas Praytor 8-29-09 Mobile, AL: The much-awaited premiere of the “The Final Destination” was a premonition of our Saturday night. The Final Destination franchise is based on the main character having a premonition of a horrible accident saving his friends and then death tracking them down and taking them out. A 3-hour build up with Bill Black on 95 KSJ led into the opening of “The Final Destination” at Hollywood theaters. As most know by now, this installment of the franchise starts with a premonition of a horrible accident at a racetrack. The race footage was filmed at Mobile International Speedway and on this weekend the movie was a premonition for Saturday night. After a really solid test on Thursday night the Moose and his Max Force team felt like they were taking their best G-Force machine to the racetrack. The Moose completed 1 lap of practice and on the 2nd a competitor spun in front of him coming to a rest sideways in the track and blocking the racetrack off the exit of turn 2. The Moose had nowhere to go and plowed head first into the stalled car. The impact destroyed the front end of the G-Force machine, shearing the right front tire off and collapsing the front frame rails into the new motor. Not only did the wreck destroy the car it wrecked the Moose’s chances for a shot at the 2009 title.

 

Thomas: “I just can’t believe it. Everyone has worked so hard on getting us where we are and it was over just that fast. I think my Dad and I both just wanted to sit down and cry but there were too many people standing around. We worked late into the night on Saturday night pulling the pieces off the car. We have a long day ahead of us on Sunday just getting it apart and seeing how bad it’s hurt. We’ll get the car back to the Grill’s and let them put their healing hands on it but with school (South Alabama) back in, it will take some time to get it back on the track.”

 

Picture: G-Force Impala in the race shop as the team prepares to start work on bringing it back to life.” 

 

TESTING-MOVIE PREMIERE-RACING

 

Thomas Praytor Mobile, AL 8-27-09: A busy racing weekend starts tonight with testing at Mobile International Speedway. The Midwest Cooling Towers Late Models return for round 8 of the 2009 season on Saturday night. After testing tonight our Max Force team will roll out one of our cars (see picture above) that was used in filming The Final Destination for the premiere of the movie here on the Gulf Coast. The car was driven by legendary stuntman Buddy Joe Hooker (Burt Reynolds based his stuntman movie Hooper on Hooker) during the movie and one of the cars stunt doubles is featured flipping in the movie trailer. The trailer can be seen following this link, http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3834315289/ . The car will be on display at Hollywood Theaters Friday as Bill Black host 95 KSJs opening night festivities. We hope the Moose will not repeat his role as stuntman on Saturday night as the Midwest Cooling Towers Late models get back in action after a 5-week absence from Mobile International Speedway. While MIS has been off, the Moose and his G-Force Impala have been busy with an appearance in the Georgia Asphalt Series 100 lap event at Lanier National Speedway in Georgia and a private test earlier this week at MIS.

 

Thomas: “We had a really good test Tuesday at Mobile and we’re going to try some different things Thursday night but our car was really good. After Lanier, Mobile seemed like a Superspeedway. I’m really pumped up about the movie on Friday. If the movie is half as cool as the preview it will be awesome. I wish we could get all the stuntmen back to Mobile for it but they are all spread out shooting other movies. I’m looking forward to seeing how what we shot all comes together in the movie.”



 

MOOSE GOES TO SCHOOL IN LANIER
 

 
 
 
 
 


Thomas Praytor, Lanier Georgia 8-15-09: After spending the season on the high banks of Mobile International Speedway the Moose loaded up his G-Force Impala for the flat 3/8th mile bull ring of Lanier National Speedway and a 100 lap Georgia Asphalt Series race. Parking on Friday was the first indication of how steep the competition was this past weekend. Parked to the right was Chase Elliot, son of NASCAR driver Bill Elliott and on the left was current Super Late Model-Blizzard, Miller Lite and Viper Series points leader Bubba Pollard. They were the next-door neighbors and the rest of the neighborhood was just as tough. To go fast in Mobile you drive it in until you think it won’t hold and then you stomp the gas and hold on. Lanier is more touch than brute strength and more turning than going straight. The first few laps of practice got the better of the Moose as he struggled to adapt to the unique Speedway. The team thrashed on the Grill chassis while the Moose continued to learn. After less than 50 laps of practice the Moose lined up to qualify posting a lap more than a second faster than his first laps on the track and just 2 tenths off the pole. How tight was the field? The Moose lined up 16th out of 20 cars.  The team had little time to work on long runs and had more questions marks about the race than they did qualifying. With the drop of the green flag the Moose picked up a few spots but not many and the race settled in to a 25 lap green flag run before the first caution. Back under green the Moose was looking to pick up some spaces, 3 cars in front of the G-Force machine spun and the Moose locked up the brakes to keep from running over the cars in front of him. The move sent the Moose spinning and a light encounter with the outside retaining wall. A trip down pit road for a little duck tape and the Moose was back on track, still on the lead lap but at the tail end of the field. Under green he was picking up spots he lost in the accident. The Moose was making progress until he caught a lapped car that wanted to race the lead lap cars. The time spent getting around the lapped car cost the Moose valuable real estate as the leaders closed in. On a small 3/8ths mile track it doesn’t take long for the leaders to come around, at lap 60 the Moose went a lap down. As usual, a much needed caution flag flew shortly thereafter. The GAS Series does not use the lucky dog free pass like NASCAR, so the Max Force team used the last 30 laps to work on the handling of the G-force Impala preparing for a return trip to the North Georgia track. The weekend netted a 14th place finish and a lot of valuable experience.

 

Thomas: “We really had a solid weekend, the level of competition was incredible and the track was hard to get a handle on. I really appreciate Mr. Rick (Crawford) and Grant (Enfinger) coming down from Charlotte to help me out. With the limited practice time we had, they cut my learning curve down big time. Every lap we made I felt like we got better I hope we can fit anther GAS race on the schedule before the end of the year.”

 

Picture: G-Force Impala on track at Lanier National Speedway. More pictures coming to the web site by the end of the week.

MOOSE FILES GEORGIA ASPHALT
SERIES ENTRY FOR LANIER

 

Thomas Praytor 8-10-09: A long day at the Grand American Race Car shop in Dolomite Alabama was the preamble to a lot of hard work in the Max Force Racing shop in Mobile.  The team worked in high gear putting Midnight back together for a shake down at Mobile International Speedway. The Moose put his G-Force Impala through it’s paces and the team feels like they are ready to go. With 4 weeks until the next race at MIS, the Moose was All ready to race without a race on the Gulf Coast to go to. An expanding search off the Coast found a 100 lap Georgia Asphalt Series (GAS) race at Lanier National Speedway this weekend. The team has filed an entry and is busy prepping Midnight for it’s debut in the Georgia Asphalt Series.

 

Thomas: “My Dad and I were in Lanier a few years ago for an ARCA race and I’ve wanted to race there ever since. The backstretch is cut out of a hill and they have terraces for people to park their cars and tailgate while they watch the races. The track looks like a smaller version of Pensacola and drives almost like a big circle. If we can make a 100 laps and at least run with the regulars we’ll have a good weekend.”

    

Picture: The wreck wiped out all of the bracing inside the right side of the car but only the door had to be replaced on the body. The new plastic fender and quarter panel from Five Star Bodies were able to be reused, graphics will be added this week before the GAS race at Lanier. 

MIDNIGHT TO CHASSIS BUILDER


Thomas Praytor 8-4-09 Dolomite, Alabama: After Midnight had it’s clock cleaned during double points night at Mobile International Speedway, our Max Force race team stripped the right side bare for the healing hands of Frank and Augie Grill. The Grill’s Grand American Race Car (GARC) shop is in scenic Dolomite, Alabama, just west of Birmingham and east of Hueytown. The Moose rolled a battered Midnight into the shop at 8:00 AM. Thomas and the Grill’s worked all day at replacing, repairing and most importantly making sure each part of the car was back where it was supposed to be. At 6:00 PM the Moose was loaded back up and headed for home. 

 

Thomas: “It was incredible watching Mr. Frank and Augie work on our car. They know every inch of their cars and they know when something is not right just by looking at it. They replaced everything that was torn up and reset up the car in a day, it would have taken us a week! Our guys have already started to work on putting the exterior back on the car and we hope to be ready to shake it down this Thursday at Mobile International Speedway.”

 

Picture: Augie Grill cutting away the right side of Midnight in the Grand American Race Car shop in Dolomite, Alabama.

NEW MOTOR-TESTING KEEPING MOOSE BUSY

 

 

Thomas Praytor Mobile 7-25-09: The Moose rolled his G-Force Impala into Mobile International Speedway with big expectations after a long month of hard work and testing. The Midwest Cooling Tower Late Models were slated as the feature class with qualifying, an extended lap feature and double points for the 2009 championship. Everyone was bringing their best car and big nights are known for attracting top-flight teams. Off the trailer the Moose was in and around the top 5 but that was practice and everyone would be picking their game up for qualifying. With a change in the racing format at MIS the team prepped for only it’s the 3rd qualifying effort of the 2009 season and the first in the Grill chassis. The Moose was on the wheel timing in 4 tenths of second faster than his best qualifying effort at MIS and slightly over a tenth off the pole and would put him 4th on the starting grid. The hard work and energy the Max Force team  put in this season was starting to pay off on the racetrack. With nearly a full field invert the Moose would roll of 10th instead of 4th. With the drop of the green flag the Moose was charging a little too hard and he sent Jeremy Pate spinning on the first corner of the first lap. Back under green the G-Force Impala had gone from free in qualifying to super tight. Instead of going forward the Moose was going backwards with a car that wouldn’t turn. A caution 10 laps in would give the team an opportunity to bring the Moose down pit road and free him up. Back under green the Moose was rumbling back to the front. The Moose moved to dodge a wreck and was turned from behind sending him to the back again. At the halfway point the Moose was picking up spots again when they started wrecking in front of him blocking the track. The Moose tried a hard left to miss the wad of cars but there was nowhere to go. The impact nearly knocked the rear end out of the car and ended what had started as a promising night.

 

Thomas: “At one time or another I think I hit or got hit by everything but the pace car. Jeremy (Pate) came down after the race and we talked about the first lap. He’s been on both sides of the deal and he’s a class act. Our qualifying effort showed how far we’ve come since we started the season. We’ve put the first piece of the puzzle together and we’ll start working on making our race package better. A lot of people put in a lot of time getting our new motor in and running. I think Mr. Dan (Vanderley) was one of the happiest guys at the track with our qualifying effort and we out qualified his son. Mr. Dan’s VDL carburetor is all we run and he’s been tuning on the new motor combination for weeks. We’ll go back to work and get Midnight ready to go again.”

 

Picture: Team pushing the G-Force Impala into the qualifying line.

 

PIT ROAD MISTAKE COST MOOSE

 

Thomas Praytor Mobile 6-20-09: With each race the Moose’s comfort level with his new Grill car keeps getting better and the results are starting to show it. In the heat race the Moose tracked down the leader and was making a move for the lead when his G-Force Impala got away from him, costing him a shot at the win in the heat. In the feature the Moose thundered up to 3rd in the opening laps and then fell back with a vibration from a tire that had been left loose in the pits. A caution let the Moose come back to pit road to tighten the tire but the loss in track position would be hard to overcome. Starting from the tail the Moose was working his way back to the front when he tangled with another car knocking the nose over 6 inches and ending the car’s ability to be competitive.

 

Thomas: “We really had a good car but no results to show for it. The guys left a tire loose before the race and then I forced an issue with a slower car and for all practical purposes it ended our chances at having a good night. We’ve got a long break and we’ve got few things we’re working on that will keep us busy.”  
 

MOST TEAMS TURN TO YOUTH FOR TESTING

MAX FORCE WENT THE OTHER WAY
 


Picture: Tommy and Mike during a truck test in 2006.
 

Mobile International Speedway 6-15-09: While most race teams think younger is better, our Max Force Team turned to a pair of old guys on Monday afternoon at MIS. With a combined age close to 100 Tommy and Mike Woodson spent the afternoon testing the Max Force Super Stock and Carquest Sportsman. Woodson wheeled his way to the Pure Stock Championship in 1998 in a Buick Regal almost identical to today’s Carquest Sportsman. After both drivers knocked a little Rust off, the lap times started to drop and the call for changes started rapid fire. As the pair made laps, swapping from car to car, the half dozen Max Force crew members were working full tilt to keep up with the changes. Fortunately for the crew, the test had to stop at dark or they might still be working. 

 

Tommy: “I really appreciate Mike coming out to have a little fun with me on Monday. We worked over the Carquest Sportsman pretty hard. I hope with our experience we found some things that will make it better for Kyle. The boys might need a day off, we were bouncing back and forth from car to car, calling for changes on one while we got in the other one. On top of the changes we were pretty hard on tires and the boys got in some real time experience on tire changing yesterday. The guys have been busy at the shop, taking my big boy seat out of Kyle’s car and making the rest of the changes on the Sportsman. Thursday night is practice and we’ll turn the cars back over to the young guys for the race Saturday night at Mobile.”

 

MOOSE STARTS ON POLE

 CUT TIRE CUTS OUT CHANCE FOR A WIN


 

Thomas Praytor Mobile 6-6-09: After a month off, the Moose was looking for some laps in his G-Force Impala. During the off time the Moose had tested 3 times and rain on Thursday night cut out a scheduled test leaving the team with a decision to use the test setup or what they had raced on before.  Not known to be shy, the team opted for the aggressive test package planned for Thursday night and spent most of Saturday night undoing it. After a solid heat race and a nice invert the Moose would bring the field to the green flag from the pole position. With the drop of the green flag the Moose rumbled to the lead and by the flag stand had the field cleared headed for turn one. Coming off of turn 2 the Moose had a 4-car length lead on second when the caution flag came out requiring a complete double file restart. On the second restart the rest of the field would not be fooled again and the Moose was trapped on the inside lane with a loose racecar.  The Moose held his own in the top 5 until another competitor hit him in the left rear sending him spinning up turn 4 and cutting down the tire. A green flag stop cost the Moose 3 laps and ended his shot at a solid finish.

 

Thomas: “It’s a shame that first start didn’t stand. They were waiting for me on the second one. When we got stuck in the inside lane our car was just too loose to keep up. When I could run the car from top to bottom of the track we were pretty good. It’s only our 3rd time in the car and we’re learning more each week about our G-Force Impala.”

 

 

MOOSE STRUGGLES IN SECOND OUTING IN NEW CAR

Thomas Praytor 5-9-09 Mobile: After a really good test of the G-Force Impala on Thursday night the Moose had high hopes that the time had come for “Midnight” to strike. Off the trailer Midnight was struggling to get back to the times it was turning during Thursday nights test. With only a week on the new chassis the team had little data to pull form to make Midnight tick but it didn’t keep them from throwing everything they had at it. In the heat race the Moose was able to run up front and challenge for the win. Dodging a late race accident Midnight whipped around and hit the front stretch wall with the rear end, moving the bumper cover over 6 inches. With superficial damage the Moose soldier on and made a move for the 2nd spot with a lap left. It wasn’t enough to keep second but it would garner a 3rd place finish in the heat and a 3rd place starting spot for the feature. After the heat, the crew attacked the repairs on the G-Force Impala. The entire back end of the body had been shifted over when the back mad impact with the wall. The new 5 Star Body with rubber quarter panels was paying dividends in only its second start. On the old style body the damage would require that the entire back end of the car be taken off, refiberglassed, painted, restickered and put back on the car. With the rubber quarter panels the team had the damage repaired and ready for the feature. With a big slide ride the Moose took in the heat the G-Force Impala needed 4 fresh tires to go along with the body repairs. While one part of the team worked on the body the rest were getting new tires, double bleeding and sizing. Not being able to scuff in the set during the heat race and adjust air pressures for the feature put the team further behind the set up curve. After a few anxious laps to start the feature the Moose settled in the 4th position and had his sights set on Johanna Long for 3rd. The back end stepped out on the Moose and a 2-car freight train had him in 6th. The team spent the night trying to free the G-Force Impala up and halfway into the feature the changes showed up in a big way, the Moose was slipping and sliding and holding on.  By the time the green flag dropped the G-Force Impala crossed the finish line 8th.

 

Thomas: “Tonight was a humbling experience. Everybody worked so hard to get our car ready for the feature and I drove like it was my first race. My head was in hauling butt and not racing and it bit me, just like it always does. Congratulations to my teammate, Kyle for breaking into the top 5 in the points.”

 

MIDNIGHT STRIKES 6TH IN FIRST OUTING


Thomas Praytor 4-23-09 Mobile, AL: Testing had gone well for the Moose as he put his new Grill chassis through it paces leading into Saturday night. It took months to get 10K into competitive form. In just days Midnight was faster than 10K and the team was ready for Saturday night. With a new format for regular Saturday night racing the Midwest Cooling Towers Pro Late Models did not qualify and heat raced for starting positions. The luck of the draw put the Moose at the back of the heat race and the team used the heat to test for the feature. Testing in the heat race would put the Moose in the back for the feature but the information gained was worth it. With the drop of the green flag of the 25-lap feature the Moose was rumbling in his new G-Force Impala. Within 5 laps the Moose charged from 11th to 5th and 2008 US Army Rookie of the Year was giving Midnight a showcase ride in her debut. As the laps wore on Midnight started to tighten up and the Moose’s charge started to fade. A caution allowed the Moose time to dial more rear brake in the car to help Midnight turn. The change paid off and Midnight was ticking again as the race went green the rest of the way and the Moose was able to scramble back to a 6th place finish. Saturday night the Moose moved into the top 5 in the championship point’s standings.

 

Thomas: “Congratulations to Grant (Enfinger) on a great run in Talladega on Friday. I’ve never been prouder of a 6th place finish. Everybody has worked so hard over the last 3 weeks making a bare chassis a racecar. This car has so much potential; I was making moves that I couldn’t even think of in our old car. DJ Vanderley wasn’t racing his Grill car this weekend and he came over and helped me out. He probably cut 3 weeks off my learning curve on this car. I’m looking forward to Meet the Drivers Night in 2 weeks.”

 

Picture: The Moose would come out on top of this side-by-side battle with Elliott Massey.

 

MOOSE RUMBLING IN MIDNIGHT TEST

Thomas Praytor 4-23-09 Mobile: The Moose put his new chassis, “Midnight” through its paces in a private test at Mobile International Speedway on Wednesday afternoon. After a few laps to see if anything fell off, the Moose went to work on getting to know the new Grill chassis. After 4 hours Midnight was faster than what the team had been able to make 10K go in over a year.

 

Thomas: “The car was completely different from 10K, it’s definitely a step up. It’s been a big undertaking getting Midnight ready in less than 2 weeks but our team did an awesome job. I can’t thank everyone enough for their help.”

 

Next up Thursday night open practice for both Max Force cars and then off to Talladega on Friday to watch Mobile’s Grant Enfinger in the ARCA ReMax Series race.

 

MIDNIGHT TEST STARTS HECTIC

TALLADEGA/MOBILE WEEKEND

 

 

Grant Enfinger, racing for the first time at Talladega this weekend, Jason Jarrett, Cup spotter/Enfinger’s spotter for the weekend and Rick Humphries, President of Talladega Superspeedway, highlight a special Noon broadcast of Fausak Tires Inside Alabama racing. After the show we’ll take Midnight to Mobile International Speedway for her first test. You’ll notice a lot of changes with our new car, for the first time we’ll be racing something other than a Pontiac. The new car has a 2009 Impala, the first in Mobile with the innovative 2-piece roof system from 5 Star Bodies. The new style body features a rubber nose, tail, fenders and quarter panels. The new car will also have a reverse paint scheme of the one that the Moose has been running since his Bandolero days. Instead of yellow with black the new car will be black with yellow. Which is also where the name comes from. As you can see from the picture, the car is completely black without stickers. A late night exit from the shop while working on the car in the pitch black dark and a look at the watch, Midnight just seemed to stick. Another big change is under the body, for the first time we’ll use something other than a Port City chassis. Midnight’s chassis is a GARC or a Grill car built by Frank and Augie Grill in Dolomite, Alabama. The Grill’s have had the hot hand for the last few years, in the last 6 months they’ve won the Snowball Derby and both pro and super late model races in the Rattler. There will be a learning curve but we’ve stepped our game with the Grill car.

 

The team has rented MIS for Midnights test this afternoon and then both Max Force Cars will test Thursday night at MIS for Saturday night. Destroying 10K and bringing the new car on line has over shadowed the big run Kyle Cox had 2 weeks ago. Kyle started dead last in a 17-car field and drove his way to a 7th place finish. With that run Kyle is now in the top 10 in points in the Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman Division. Kyle and the Moose will work in traffic at Thursday nights open test at MIS prepping for Saturday. After the test on Thursday night Tommy will day trip to Talladega to spot the backstretch for Grant Enfinger in the ARCA race. With Tommy in Talladega the team will finish prepping both cars for Saturday night at MIS. On Saturday we’ll race at MIS with an eye on Speedvision as Mobile’s Rick Crawford races in Kansas. Normally we would be in Talladega on Sunday but after the next 4 days the last day of the Aaron’s Dream weekend at Talladega will be watched on a big screen instead of pit road.

 

MOOSE NEW CHASSIS IN SHOP

TEAM HUSTLING FOR APRIL 25TH START AT MIS

Thomas Praytor 4-17-09: After the ASA race in Mobile, Dr. Tommy put the Moose’s old reliable chassis 10-K on life support with little chance of recovery. With 10-K sidelined the team went shopping for a replacement. With the on track success that Augie Grill has had over the last year, winning the Snowball Derby and the Rattler, our search kept us returning to the GARC shop in Dolomite, Alabama. We were in luck that Frankie and Augie Grill had a chassis being refurbished that was for sale. After the Grill’s finished, the chassis was picked up and delivered to the Max Force Shop in Mobile. As can be seen in the picture, the team has already fitted our existing motor in the car and the laborious process of putting on an ABC template fitted body has begun.

Thomas: “A Grill car is a big step up for our program. The Grill cars have been kicking our butt, I’m looking forward to getting a chance to drive it. Our team is working over time to get us ready to go next weekend. We have a lot of work to do.”

 

For more Moose www.maxforceracing.com

 

ASA WEEKEND TURNS DISASTER FOR MOOSE

 

Thomas Praytor Mobile AL 3-28-09: After a top 10 in the season opener in Mobile the Moose was looking forward to the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour doubleheader. The horrible weather on the coast Thursday and Friday was a precursor of the weekend ahead for the G-Force race team. The weather forced the Friday-Saturday format to be changed to a Saturday night, Mobile and Sunday afternoon Pensacola. The Moose and his team worked on the G-Force Pontiac in an all day practice session on Saturday leading up to the race on Saturday night. The Moose posted a solid qualifying effort and would roll off 21st. The carnage started with the drop of the green flag, the first caution was on lap 5 and they kept coming with 15 laps the longest green flag run during the race. The Moose was spun out on 3 different occasions, dodged 4 other close calls and looked liked he would survive to race on Sunday, until lap 98. The other 28 car in the field sent the Moose for a ride on lap 98. The ensuing double file restart (ASA double files all restarts) put the Moose on the outside row. Going into turn 3 the trouble started in the top 5 creating a huge pile up and blocking the track. The Moose was looking for a place to hide while his G-Force machine was sliding sideways in the fluid on the racetrack. The Moose’s Pontiac hit the pile of cars with the right rear a ton ending the night and weekend. The wreck could signal the end of 10K (We call this car 10K because we paid $10,000 for it while it competes against cars that cost up to 8 times as much) the team is still pulling apart the pieces dropped off by the rollback at our shop.

 

Thomas: “ I was little disappointed in our qualifying effort, we were a tenth slower than we were last year in this race (ASA has different car rules than the regular Saturday night program at MIS.) The race was just wild I’ve never been in a race with a complete lack of respect drivers had for the guy they were racing with. I got turned the first time on lap 7 for 21st, it was like that all night long. Each restart, which there were plenty, you were on the gas, on the brake, on the gas, on the brake until you got off of turn 2. I think I got turned 3 times, one time going down the straight away! I thought we had dodged all the bullets until the final restart, I had nowhere to go and then I was going sideways, hardest hit I remember. I think I might have killed old 10K, Dr. Tommy has already started working on trying to bring it back to life but she’s on life support and it ain’t looking good.”

 

SPOTTER COST MOOSE SHOT AT TOP 5


The Moose was off to a solid start to the 2009 season running just outside the top 5 when his spotter advised him to back off the lead pack when he thought the 3rd place car was having mechanical problems. That bad advice was compounded when a disabled car was left at the bottom of the back stretch for 2 laps. “Neither my spotter or the tower must have seen him down there. I saw him spin out and I checked up, no caution. I got back up to speed thinking he must have got going again. Made another lap he was still sitting down there. I eased up to caution speed and the leader passed me, then the caution came out. It was a weird race,” said Thomas. “We didn’t have the finish we were looking for but it was a good night. Our G-Force Pontiac was the best we’ve had at Mobile, I wasn’t using any brake getting in the corner and I was able to mat the gas coming off.” Trapped a lap down 7th was the best finish the Moose could muster. With all 4 corners on the car the team gets ready for a huge double-header ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour weekend. Friday nights race in Pensacola will be carried tape delayed on SportSouth and MAV TV. Both races, Pensacola & Mobile will be broadcast live on the internet on Speed51 radio at www.speed51.com.

 


 

Thomas Praytor Mobile, AL 3-19-09: along 3 month wait from the Snowball Derby at Pensacola’s Five Flags Speedway has the Moose ready to start his second season of Late Model competition. Two days of testing this week have the Moose rolling into the 2009 season with high hopes. “We really learned a lot about our car at the Snowball and a lot of that knowledge has transferred to our Mobile setup,” said the Moose. While it is only his second season in the Midwest Cooling Towers Pro Late Model division this is Thomas’s 4th season in a full body stock car. With 3 US Army Rookie of the Year titles (2006 SS MIS, 2007 SS Pcola, 2008 LM MIS) the Moose is looking for a Sophomore season in the Late Models like he had in the Super Stocks as the runner up in the points standings at Mobile and Pensacola. Thomas, “We’re just going to try and keep getting better every week. We improved our G-Force Pontiac in the shop in the off season and our early test at Mobile looks like it’s paying dividends.” The 2009 season gets underway this weekend at Mobile International speedway on Saturday night. For ticket information www.mobilespeedway.net.