2019 Photo Gallery
Tommy Praytor Photo's
2010 Race Recaps
NO TIME TO SLOW DOWN-MOOSE AT PRI SHOW
Thomas Praytor Orlando, FL 12-11-10:After a solid Derby, the Moose headed to Orlando, Florida for the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show. The PRI show features over 1,000 racing exhibitors in a million square foot convention center. The show is invaluable in gaining hands on knowledge from the folks we deal long distance with on a regular basis. Existing product suppliers like, G-Force, VDL Carburetors, Hans, Quartermaster, ISP Seats, Gibbs Racing Oil, Intercomp, Longacre, Racing Electronics, Pitboxes.com, Bassett Wheels, 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. Along with existing products we work on finding new products, one of this year’s finds was an Alabama company we had to go to Orlando to find! Thomas, "I really appreciate everyone taking the time to talk with us. We use what we learn all year long. Of course it’s nice to take my Dad Christmas shopping a couple of weeks before Christmas. For racers, the PRI Show is Black Friday and Cyber Monday all rolled up into one. A big part of PRI is checking out all the new gear from G-Force, they make products for regular racers at regular racers prices. This year’s show just really juiced me up even more to get back to the racetrack. It’s going to be a long off season.”
Pictures: (L)Thomas Jeremy and Jeremy at the G-Force Booth. (R) Just an idea of how big this show is.
WRAPS UP 2010 SEASON
Pictures: (L) G-Force Ford Fusion at the flag
stand during practice. (R) The Moose on track with NASCAR driver David
Ragan. Pictures courtesy of Speed51.com
Thomas Praytor 2010 Snowball Derby Pensacola, FL: After a season of fast cars that ended up on the wrecker, the Moose was looking for a little redemption at the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby. Weeks of testing came down to days and then hours as over 100 of the best late model teams in the country crammed into the infield of 5 Flags Speedway. “We missed this race last year by like 2 one hundredths of a second and we left the track last year determined we wouldn’t leave early again,” said Thomas. “We worked hard on our qualifying effort all year and by the end of the season it was starting to pay off.” As the days wound down to hours our Max Force team kept tweaking on our G-Force Ford Fusion searching for the best possible setup to be in the top 30 that would get in on time. For qualifying the Moose drew a number that would make us the next to the last car to qualify. The good news with that kind of draw is that as soon as you’re done you know if you made the race. The bad news is the Moose would have to sit and think about his qualifying laps while almost every other competitor made their time. The year of working on qualifying showed as the Moose put himself in the show on his first lap and on the second lap he rocketed up the board to the 17th starting spot. Thomas, “Our G-Force Ford was really solid. We’ve been in some big races but getting into this one after just missing it last year was sweet.” In order to make the field, the setup for our G-Force machine was designed to make 2 laps and would never last 100. With a double handful of changes our Max Force team rolled Christine out for the 2010 Allen Turner Snowflake 100. Starting behind 2010 double champion DJ Vanderley, the Moose settled in behind the black deuce and logged laps for the first part of the Allen Turner Snowflake 100. Recovering from a poor qualifying effort, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver and Night of Champions winner Mike Garvey rolled up behind the Moose. The Moose let Garvey by and quickly fell into his tire tracks and the pair started moving to the front. Just outside the top 10 the Moose started to fall back and by the time the first caution flew the Moose had fallen all the way back to near the end of the 38 car field. “Our car was perfect and we were following Garvey up through the field just cruising. Around 25 laps in, the brake pedal went to the floor and we didn’t have any brakes. The guys worked on it during the red flag but back under green we still didn’t have any brakes.” Unable to compete Tommy called the Moose to pit road and the Moose rolled Christine to the trailer for the final time of the 2010 season. “It was frustrating, we had brake issues at the Lee Fields Memorial and we worked hard on fixing and testing the problem and thought we had the brake deal covered. We think we actually fixed the first problem and have a new problem that we’ll fix in the off season.” The Moose was credited with a 30th place finish. Thomas, “After getting past the disappointment of not being able to finish the race we really had a solid and fun Derby week. We had a great crew, Mr. Terry and Mr. Jimmy (Dees) joined our regular group of Ben, Steffan and Andrew and we had a full compliment of team members. Having a full crew really made it possible for us to perform at our best. I really want to thank all of our team and G-Force for a great weekend.”
While the racing season is over for the 2010 the racing business continues this weekend as the Moose heads to the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando.
We’ll post more pictures from the 2010 Snowball Derby on our web sitewww.maxforceracing.com this week.
FINAL DERBY PREP FINISHED READY FOR MOVE IN
Thomas Praytor Snowball Derby 2010: The final piece of Derby prep was applying the stickers celebrating the life of Mobile International Speedway Announcer and long time sports broadcaster, Jim Koblas. The design is the traditional NBC Peacock in black instead of it’s normal rainbow of colors with KOBLAS IS SPORTS in gold. Gold because Jim was the Gold Standard for sports broadcasters on the Gulf Coast. .
After Saturday’s test session the team spent Sunday going over our G-Force Ford Fusion and making final adjustments for the Derby. Thomas, “We found a few things in our nut and bolt session that needed to be addressed. The biggest deal was a torn shock line from an improperly installed shock during Saturday’s test. It really wasn’t that big of a deal other than the Boss was the one who put it on. We’re having a good time giving my Dad a hard time about it. He doesn’t admit to many mistakes, so when he does we get all we can get. I’m really looking forward to getting all the getting ready behind us and getting on the race track.”
Parking for the late models haulers is Wednesday followed by the green flag party Wednesday night at 5 Flags. We’ll also broadcast Fausak Tires Inside Alabama Racing from the track Wednesday night at 6:00. On track activities start on Thursday.
FINAL DERBY TEST IN THE BOOKS
JIM KOBLAS HAS MADE HIS FINAL BROADCAST
“It is impossible for today’s generation to understand how big Jim Koblas’s contribution is to sports broadcasting. His work on WALA made sports more than 5 minutes interrupting the news. Jim’s work paved the way for today’s ESPN and non stop sports coverage. Jim was the gold standard for sports broadcasting on the Gulf Coast,” said Tommy Praytor host of Inside Alabama Racing. “It’s like Randy said if you grew up on the Gulf coast you wanted to be like Jim. When I first started doing radio Jim was at KSJ. Koblas and the rest of the KSJ group were at the top of their game but Jim would always take time to help me along the way and offer his advice and guidance. This year I had the honor of sitting in for Jim at MIS while he was trying to fight back from the stroke that sidelined him. We’ve lost a sports broadcasting pioneer, a mentor and a friend.”
Thomas Praytor, the Moose, will run a special “Koblas Is Sports” sticker on the B post of his car for the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday at Mobile Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, 6040 Three Notch Road. Graveside services and interment will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in Mobile Memorial Gardens.
OPEN TEST STARTS COUNTDOWN TO DERBY
Thomas Praytor 2010 Derby 11-22-10: Open testing at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway on Saturday marked the 2 week countdown to the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby. For the first time our Max Force Team unloaded 2 late models for testing, a Pro Late Model for Saturday night’s Snowflake and a Super Late Model for Sunday’s Snowball Derby. The team has been working clandestinely on installing a Super motor in the Turner Motorsports car that wasn’t supposed to be ready until the 2011 season. Thomas, “Everybody knows my Dad is not right and he decided a couple of weeks ago that we should run both cars at the Derby. Our number 1 problem was we needed a motor. Well, I have friend who’s Dad races in NASCAR and while his Dad was away at the races another guy I know who races in ARCA went by their shop and the next thing you know a motor was sitting on the floor of our shop. My story is the motor fairy brought it!” Our Turner car was setup for a Pro-Late model and our team was now in overtime mode getting the car ready for testing. During the ramp up we decided to change the paint scheme a little so it would be easier to tell the 2 cars apart (see picture above). This wasn’t done for the fans but for our team and most importantly our driver so he would know which car to get in. Off the trailer the Moose was back on familiar footings as he man handled the Pro-Late Model around the old worn out surface at 5 Flags. The Super car was a different story. Thomas “I was everywhere but wow was it fun!” Unfortunately an issue with the motor that we can’t get repaired before the Derby cut the practice time in the Super car short and the Super will have to wait until the 2011 season. “We’d spent a lot of time getting the Super car ready and it’s a little bit of a let down that we aren’t going to get to race it. That having been said we were really stretching our team resources to ramp up a Super program in such a short time. With the Super in the trailer we really got to spend some extra time with Christine.” The team has a private test planned for Saturday, with the race haulers moving in on the following Wednesday.
For more Snowball Derby infowww.snowballderby.com
Open practice for the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby is this Saturday. For more Snowball Derby info www.snowballderby.com
MOOSE TEAMS WITH TURNER MOTORSPORTS
Thomas Praytor 11-11-10: The Moose has teamed up with Turner Motorsports to campaign a second late model in 2011. With Turner Motorsports announcement last week to field 3 NASCAR Nationwide teams and 3 NASCAR Camping World Truck teams in 2011 the Moose joins a growing field of drivers for car owner Steve Turner. Turner’s Grand American Race Car (Grill) chassis has been delivered to our Max Force Race shop in Mobile and will be crewed by our race team during the 2011 season. “It’s really a big honor to have Mr. Turner choose our team for one of his late models. When you look at the people who are driving for him in 2011 and the drivers he’s worked with in the past, well honor is the best word I can come up with. We’ve had the car back at Grill’s getting the latest updates and getting it ready to go.”
Moose Shoots It Out With
MOTOR SIDELINES MOOSE AT 5 FLAGS
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 10-8-10:
The Moose and his Ed’s Seafood Shed Fusion were close to wrapping up a
text book practice until the final session on Thursday night at Pensacola’s
5 Flags Speedway. Rolling on to pit road the oil pressure dropped to 5
pounds then to no pounds and the Moose quickly shut down the motor before
any serious damage could be done. A once over by the crew and some
diagnostic help from Dan VanDerley and Eddie Mercer confirmed the oil issue
was terminal. Thomas: “Just really heart broken. Our Ed’s Sled was really
good and we were trying different ideas for laps 80-100 on race night. We
feel like the oil pump or oil pickup is at the root of our oil pressure
problem. We’ll get the motor out and get it fixed and ready for the Derby.
Congratulations to DJ VanDerley on winning the Championship Friday night at
5 Flags. We’ve been chasing those guys all year. I don’t want to give too
much away but we have a pretty cool deal we hope to be announcing next
ED’S ON THE MENU FOR NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 10-4-10: Ed’s Seafood Shed, home of “Yo Mamma’s Platter”, returns for 100 Lap Night of Champions at Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway. “Any man that will have his picture taken with a 6 foot hamster you have to be behind!” said Ed Bridges of Ed’s Seafood Shed. “We’ve always gotten tremendous exposure from Thomas and his race team. Our sponsorship not only gets our name out, it’s great for our company morale.” After running with the gerbils and a successful test at MIS, the Moose and our Max Force team have Christine shined up and ready for the final regular season race of the year in Pensacola. Thomas: “This final 100 lap race will be a good test for where we stand in preparing for this year Snowball Derby. We’ve improved our qualifying effort at 5 Flags and have missed the pole by just a couple of hundredths of a second. We’re going to try and put it all to work for us this weekend. I really appreciate Mr. Ed and Mrs. Barbara coming back on board for the final night of local racing, hopefully we can do a little celebrating at Ed’s on Saturday.”
HAMSTERS AND TESTING IN THE OFF WEEK
Thomas Praytor 9-24-10: With a few weeks off between starts the Moose saddled up a giant hamster and tested his Ed’s Seafood Shed Fusion at Mobile International Speedway. Herbie the Hamster was the master of ceremonies for B & B Pet Stops annual Herbie Derby last Saturday (picture top left). After some fierce competition, Caroline Knowle’s hamster “Daisey” owns the title as Mobile’s fastest hamster. With the hamsters behind the Moose the team went to work on curing the brake issue that sidelined Christine at the Lee Fields Memorial 150. The Miller Lite Super Late Models will be racing at MIS tonight and the track was open for practice on Thursday. With a free shot at testing, our Max Force team tried a completely different setup package and tried to abuse the fresh brake system to see if we had it fixed. After a long night of testing the crew rolled Ed’s Sled back in the trailer wishing they were racing this weekend.
Thomas: “The kids at the hamster races were pretty intense. The Trufant’s put on a great show and we were happy to take part. I heard that Ricky Brooks disqualified a couple of the hamster after the race. One of the hamster’s whiskers didn’t make the minimum height requirement, another had too much left leg weight and I think he caught a hamster with some gerbil food stored in his cheeks. We really put some effort in on our brake system getting ready for Thursday night’s test. The folks at Brakeman gave us some great insight as to what we weren’t doing right and it paid off on the track. We also tried a really different setup package that I really liked. When your close like we have been all year, you hesitate making changes but we had a chance to play with a lot things Thursday night. I wish we were in tonight’s race but we’re pumped up for 5 Flags in 2 weeks.”
MOOSE, HAMSTERS AND ED’S OH MY!
Thomas Praytor 9-16-10: Normally, putting together a bunch of Hamsters with Mobile’s best seafood is not a very good idea but the Moose, Hamsters and our Ed’s Seafood Shed Fusion will all be at B & B Pet Stop on Saturday afternoon for their annual fundraiser for the Mobile County Public Schools. The Trufant’s host the Herbie Derby with hamsters vying for Mobile’s fastest hamster title. The green flag drops this Saturday at 3:00 PM at B & B Pet Stop on Cottage Hill with all the proceeds going to help our school system.Thomas: “This just goes to prove we’ll race anything. This is our second time to be part of this event and the Trufant’s do a fabulous job in making it happen. We had a special Ford designed for our hamster that produced a little more down force in the wind tunnel than the standard one but Ricky Brooks (MIS Technical Inspector) found out about it and he wants to add 25 pounds to our hamster! We just can’t catch a break”
BRAKES STOP MOOSE’S CHARGE IN LEE FIELDS
Thomas Praytor Lee Fields Memorial 150 9-4-10: With 15 minutes of testing on a car that was a bare chassis 10 days before the Moose and our Max Force team rolled into the biggest race of the 2010 season at Mobile International Speedway. Unfortunately our team had been in this spot too often this season but each time Christine had returned from the Grill’s Grand American Race Car shop in Dolomite, Alabama just as good if not better than before. In Friday night’s practice session Christine was solid as a rock and our Ed’s Seafood Shed Fusion was ready for Saturday. During Friday night, obviously after too much Pit Party, the Toilet Paper Bandit aka Head Techman Ricky Brooks struck our hauler.
Our Ed’s Sled had been so good on Friday night we experimented with some other setup options during Saturday’s practice session. The toilet paper was an early indicator of what we turned our car into. After banging our heads against the wall for an hour of practice we put back what we had underneath Christine on Friday night. A bad gear selection cost the Moose a couple of tenths in qualifying and he would roll off outside of the fourth row in 8th. With the drop of the green flag Ed’s Sled was hung up on the outside lane and looking for a way to get down to the preferred groove. Finally able to get down in the 10th spot the Moose started marching to the front. By lap 25 the Moose had rumbled in to the top 5, behind the new MIS Champion, the MIS Super Late Model Champion and 2 drivers who’s last starts were in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Not too bad for a car that was a bare chassis just 10 days before. Cruising in the top 5, Christine started to turn wicked on the Moose by lap 40. At first it appeared a tire was going down because the car wouldn’t turn in the corner. A caution let the team come to pit road to check the tires and all 4 tires were good. Back on track the Moose was trying to diagnose the problems with his car while passing cars on his way back to the front. As the laps progressed the handling issue got worse as the Moose lost the brakes on his Ford Fusion. After several attempts to get to the bottom of the issue during cautions on pit road we reluctantly parked our Ed’s Seafood Shed Fusion. An inspection of the car after the race pointed to the brakes as the issue with the car all along. As it turns out, a piece of debris was lodged in the left front brake caliper not allowing the brake pads to close on the rotor. Inside the car, Thomas was getting a firm brake pedal thinking he was applying the brakes but in fact was not. Trying to make a car turn is tough, trying to make one turn with no brakes is impossible. Our team is already working on repairing the brake system, which is a heck of a lot easier than rebuilding the car!
Thomas: “Can’t say enough about the Grill’s and their racecars, they keep bringing Christine back to life for us. We’ve been hard on chassis’s this year and the Grill’s have been behind us every step of the way. Our Ed’s Seafood Shed Fusion was really good, we got up to 5th and was riding behind the 1 (Mike Garvey) until the halfway break. The handling started to go away slowly at first and then it went away really quick. Pretty frustrating to have such a good car and something as bizarre as the brake deal to end our night early. Eventhough we were out early it was nice not having to bring Christine back to the shop on a wrecker but I sure would have like to have made the 150 laps.”
Pictures: (Top) Moose and crew on
left and Ed’s Seafood Shed hood on right.
LEE FIELDS 150 WEEKEND IS HERE!
Thomas Praytor Mobile International Speedway 9-3-10: It took our Max Force Racing team less than 10 days to take Christine from bare tubes to testing at Mobile International Speedway last night. With sponsorship from the home of “Yo Mamma’s Platter”, Ed’s Seafood Shed, our team unloaded Christine at 7:20 last night for what was to have been a 5:00 to dark practice. Even though the clock was ticking at the track the team took the extra time to attend to every detail on rebuilding our Ford Fusion. After a quick shake down to make sure all the pieces of our big jigsaw puzzle was back together, the team took a collected deep breath and the Moose dropped the hammer. With nightfall closer than what we wanted to admit to the Moose was rumbling around the familiar confines of Mobile International Speedway. With only 10 laps of practice the Moose was turning laps times faster than the last race at MIS. Tonight starts a 2-day program for the Lee Fields Memorial 150, with practice from 5-9 with a track sponsored Pit Party following practice. Tomorrow the teams check in at 1:00 for technical inspection, practice and a full night of racing for all the classes at MIS with the Lee fields Memorial 150 for the Midwest Cooling Towers Pro Late Models. The 150 lap race is the longest race in the history of the Pro Late Model division at MIS and will test man and machine on Saturday night.
Thomas: “Really proud of our team for putting Christine back together and rolling off the trailer as good as we left it. I watched my Dad run the first Lee Fields Memorial and it’s just a special race for all racers at MIS. Having Ed’s on board for the biggest race of the year is really cool. Ed’s is known for Yo Momma’s Platter but I had part of Yo Daddy’s sandwich the other night and it was awesome. 150 laps is going to be a challenge for every part of our program. We’re use to running 35-40 lap shootouts we’ve taken a lot of extra time making sure each part of our car is prepped for the long run.”
COUNT DOWN TO LEE FIELDS MEMORIAL 150
Thomas Praytor Mobile 8-23 10: With less than 2 weeks to go before the Lee Fields Memorial 150 at Mobile International Speedway, Christine returned from her latest facelift at the Grill’s Grand American Race Car facility in Dolomite. Alabama. Hard at work over the weekend our team has an aggressive game plan that will take the bare chassis pictured above to testing at MIS in just 8 days. While Christine has been at GARC other components have been tested, replaced or repaired and are ready for installation. For the first time the Lee Fields Memorial will be 150 laps, the longest race in the history of the Midwest Cooling towers Pro Late Model division at MIS. Testing a freshly put together car will be critical in prepping for 150 laps versus a normal 40 lap Saturday night shootout. While we’re working towards the Labor Day Lee Fields Memorial the Speedway is preparing for the return of the TBARA Winged Sprint Cars this weekend.
Thomas Praytor 8-13-10: After another airborne adventure at Mobile International Speedway our G-Force Ford Fusion is back on it’s way to chassis builders Frank and Augie Grills for another facelift. Nicknamed Christine, after Stephen Kings novel about a car that has an amazing ability to regenerate itself, we may have to rename it Joan Rivers if it gets another facelift. While our chassis is in Dolomite, Alabama our team is working on the rest of the pieces so they’ll be ready to bolt back on when Christine returns to our Max Force Race shop. We’ll be in a full court press to be ready for the Lee Fields Memorial 150 on Labor Day weekend. While the Moose is off this weekend racing is full throttle this weekend with the Super Late Models at Pensacola tonight and Mobile International Speedway tomorrow night.
MOOSE COLLECTS FREQUENT FLYER MILES AT MIS
Thomas Praytor Mobile 7-31-10: After a top 5 in Pensacola on Friday night the Moose was looking forward to taking his Realty Executive Fusion to Mobile International Speedway. In the first practice session the Moose picked up where he left on Thursday night. For the 2nd practice session the team bolted on a new set of tires to scuff them for qualifying and Christine went wicked and turned to junk. The team threw a bunch of changes at it for qualifying and it was not much better, timing in 6th. While the team made another round of changes to the Realty Executive Ford the Moose was handing out “Got Moose?” Frisbees and autographs as part of kids night at MIS. Another round of changes and we rolled the Moose out to race. On the initial start the Moose radioed he felt like he only had half power. We started working through the issues over the radio as the first start was called off and the race restarted. On the next restart the car came up to speed a little better but not full song. On the second lap the Moose pulled high on the front stretch to let the cars behind by. The car behind him followed the Moose to the top of the track and instead of going around underneath he slammed the Moose in to the wall headfirst and the Moose took flight off of turn one. “Really a frustrating night, our Realty Executive Fusion unloaded good and the new set of tires turned us to junk. I’m not sure what happened to our car in the race, we’ll spend the next few days trying to figure that out. The kids were so much fun on the front stretch. I can remember my Dad giving kids rides in his Pure Stock on kids night, they still come by to say hi. I’m glad we have a few weeks to get ready for the Lee Fields Memorial, we’re going to need everyone of them.”
MOOOSE CRUISES TO TOP 5 IN 5 FLAGS
Picture: A rare sight at 5 Flags, post-race a complete racecar!
BEACHES AND TRACKS OPEN FOR DOUBLEHEADER
Thomas Praytor 7-30-10 Final Gulf Coast Double Header Weekend: The Moose prepped his Realty Executive Ford Fusion Thursday night in the friendly confines of Mobile International Speedway. This weekends doubleheader starts tonight at Pensacola's 5 Flags Speedway on Friday night and is highlighted by kids night at MIS on Saturday night. The Moose and our Max Force team will be giving away "Got Moose" Frisbees to all the kids that participate in the ride along program on Saturday night. After taking flight in the last Midwest Cooling Towers feature at MIS the Moose is looking to stay grounded this weekend. Thomas: "We had a lot of question marks headed into our test on Thursday. The guys worked really hard bringing old Christine back to life again. Our Executive Realty Fusion was quick off the trailer but I’m glad we tested because we had some issues that needed attention. They were easy to take care of in 4 hours of testing but would have been real problems on race night. We dodged a bullet in practice, the same car I t-boned last year spun out in the same spot and blocked the track in the same spot. Somehow I missed him, our car was OK but I needed some new underwear. We’re looking forward to this weekend and we hope fans will spend the day at the beach and the nights at the track.”
Picture: The Moose putting his Realty Executive Ford Fusion through it’s paces at Mobile International Speedway.
REALTY EXECUTIVES GETS MOOSE
FOR GULF COAST DOUBLEHEADER
Thomas Praytor 5 Flags/Mobile 7-26-10: Realty Executives of the Gulf Coast takes the primary sponsor position for this week’s Gulf Coast doubleheader. “Racing has always been a great way to get our message out and our message is Gulf Shores is open for business!” said Randy McKinney President of Realty Executives Gulf Coast. “The oil well is capped, the beaches are looking good and we’re rebounding headed into the Labor Day. We “Got Moose” and we’re looking forward to this weekend.” The weekend ahead is the final Mobile/Pensacola doubleheader weekend of the 2010 season. Thomas, “We’re excited to have Realty Executives on the hood this weekend. The Gulf has been hit hard by the oil spill and we’re proud to be part of their efforts to bring people back to the beach. We’ve been working hard on putting our car back together and we’re expecting to be fast again this weekend. It will probably help to keep all 4 wheels on the ground.”
Realty Executives International, Inc. is one of the fastest-growing real estate franchises in the United States, with nearly 11,000 sales associates and more than 600 franchises. The Phoenix-based, privately held company has offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Panama, Nicaragua, Belize, Israel, Australia, Poland and Spain. Publications like Entrepreneur, Success and Inc. magazines have recently ranked Realty Executives International as a leader in the real estate industry based on franchise growth, management stability and financial soundness. For additional company information visit www.RealtyExecutives.com.
Thomas: “We really had a great car. With a lot of help from Augie Grill we’ve been tweaking on our Mobile package and it’s really paying off. Our car Saturday night was the best qualifying car I’ve ever had and we were really pumped up about the race. Our Fausak Tire Fusion started a little tight and we thought it would come to us during the race but we didn’t get past lap 7. I thought I had taken a wild ride slipping around in Elliott’s oil but that was nothing compared to what was coming. On the restart I saw the car in front of me spin his tires and I went low but his car made a move to the left. I tried going lower and then I got hammered from the back and I was just hanging on. I’m glad everybody was OK. Congratulations to DJ (Vanderley) on another sweep this weekend. We’re still looking for the right stuff to catch him and we’re not going to give up until we do.”
Picture: Post race, oil covered windshield.
MOOSE WILL SKIP 5 FLAGS THIS WEEKEND
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway 7-13-10: The Moose and our Max Force team will skip 5 Flags on Friday night and will only compete at Mobile International Speedway on Saturday. The tracks have instituted a special set of rules for this weekend that put our small Mobile based team at a significant disadvantage at 5 Flags. Team owner Tommy Praytor made the call: "It's just a shame. You would think when we're struggling to get cars and fans to the racetrack that track owners would do what they can to help keep racers coming. This weekend the tracks are impounding tires instead of letting teams get tires in advance. Since our team consist of me and Thomas on Friday afternoon, until everyone gets off work, it's takes a lot of preparation for us to race at 5 Flags. Tires are a big part of that process. We've tried to work with 5 Flags on a compromise but they wanted no part of it. All we asked for was to let the teams, all the teams not just ours, mount and match tires during Thursday nights practice and leave them in the impound area for Friday night's race. We made a commitment to run the regular show at 5 Flags before the season started and have worked hard to promote 5 Flags and work with them as a partner, you know we're in this together kind of thing, or that's what we thought. We've done everything we can to help promote 5 Flags including a day-long event for school kids and we even stayed and handed out hundreds of free gifts to the fans after we destroyed our car in practice. It’s the tracks prerogative to make the rules and as a car owner it’s my job to make sure that we have a fair shot at competing under those rules when we roll in the gate. We’ve been racing at a disadvantage all year after the tracks added 50 pounds to our Ford before the season started. I’ve protested any changes to last years rule package that produced 15 different winners in 18 races but that fell on deaf ears. After management “tweaked” the rules package, this years results speak for themselves, we’ve had 10 races and one guy has won 7 of them (Of the 3 he didn’t win, 2 he wrecked and the 3rd he was in a borrowed car) and the same car has won every pole. Why is anyone still adding weight to this car? Even though we thought any rule change to the class was ill advised and the 50-pound weight addition was grossly unfair, we decided to compete anyway, as racers we want to race. We asked for a little help for all the teams in helping make this weeks specials rules show and again it fell on deaf ears. The tracks on the coast are struggling to put a dozen Late Model cars on the track and 2 hours up the road they have over 30. When you talk to racers that used to race on the coast but are now racing elsewhere, they say it’s because they are listening, changing and helping bring their cars to the track. Listening, changing and helping, a unique approach to a successful business model. You just have to wonder how much longer will management continue to put it’s head in the sand. The days of listening, doing nothing and making it harder or over, it’s time for listening, changing and helping." Instead of a doubleheader weekend the Moose will run a single header at Mobile International Speedway on Saturday night.
MOOSE MEETS GOAT
Thomas Praytor 6-30-10: With a few weeks off between starts, the Moose and his Max Force team have been tweaking on Christine, working on the back up car and looking forward to the Pensacola/Mobile double header on July 16th. While the Moose is prepping for another Gulf Coast doubleheader, Talladega Superspeedway is getting ready for their 2nd HALLOW-DEGA in October. The PR team from NASCAR’s most competitive track dropped by the WNSP studios for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, Ricky Carmichael to be interviewed for Fausak Tires Inside Alabama Racing. The Moose and his race team are used to seeing racecar drivers and most go by unnoticed, that was until they had a chance to meet Ricky Carmichael. Carmichael is in his sophomore season in the Truck series but in the world of motocross he is simply known as the G.O.A.T., Greatest Of All Time. With a couple of ex-motocross racers on the team they couldn’t pass up a chance to meet the motocross icon. Thomas: “Working as a crew member on the 14 truck I’ve been around Ricky and I’ve always been impressed by the way he treats the guys working on his team. Having a chance to talk with him away from the track was really special. Being from Florida Ricky follows late model racing pretty close and maybe we can get him back for the Snowball Derby in December.”
Picture: (L-R) Collin Kraft, Ricky Carmichael, Moose, Andrew Vickers
WEEK TESTING FOR THE MOOSE
Thomas Praytor Off Week 6-23-10: The Miller Lite Super Late Models takes center stage this weekend on the Gulf Coast with a huge Pensacola/Mobile doubleheader. With the Super Late Models on deck this weekend the Moose and our Max Force team are getting a little time to regroup and get our G Force Ford Fusion ready for a busy July with a stretch of 4 races in 10 days. The off weekend also gives our team an opportunity for a rare Thursday night test at Mobile International Speedway. Thomas: “I’m really looking forward to testing at Mobile on Thursday night. We’ve been rolling in from Pensacola and racing all year long. We were really quick last time and we’ve got some new setup ideas we’re going to try that we don’t have time for on Saturday nights.”
MOOSE TAKES FAUSAK’S TO 3RD AT MIS
Thomas Praytor Mobile 6-12-10: After a top 5 in Pensacola on Friday night and not a mark on the Fausak Tires Ford Fusion our team had a chance to tweak on Christine instead of rebuilding. “We made a few changes to our Mobile setup in the shop and they paid off at the track. Our Fausak Ford was good off the trailer and the guys made it even better,” said Thomas. The Moose qualified 3rd behind current points leader DJ Vanderley and former Sprint Cup driver Dave Mader. At intermission MIS hosted round 2 of the weekends bicycle races, well the picture says it all.
A 5-car invert put the Moose dead in the middle of the 2 cars that qualified faster than him and the 2 cars that were slower. With the drop of the green flag the Moose spent most of the race in a wild side-by-side battle, either with the top 2 qualifiers behind him or the cars that started in front of him. The record book shows the top 3 finished how they started but it doesn’t even begin to tell the story. Thomas: “What a weekend! I don’t even know where to start, I feel like we won the Daytona 500 and all we did was have 2 top 5s. I think we raced more tonight than we have all year, it was crazy. We were 2 wide most of the night, we were in the inside, outside and I thought in the middle a couple of times. I appreciate Fausak Tires coming on board for the weekend I’m glad we put on a good show. This year has been so tough, I think we’ve rebuilt the car after every race weekend. So many people kept pumping me up, I really appreciate them standing behind me and our race team. The Grills build a great racecar. Our car was destroyed, it needed a front and rear clip, it was just tubing 2 weeks ago. Our first time back to the track and we scored 2 top 5s. We have a few weeks off and we still have lots of projects at the shop-but I’m ready to go back to the track.”
MOOSE TAKES FAUSAK TO 5TH AT 5 FLAGS
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 6-11-10: After weeks of no stop work it was time to get down to business Friday night in the round one of a Gulf Coast double header weekend. A frustrating practice on Thursday led to more frustration but some signs of life in the short practice sessions on Friday before qualifying. Our Max force team kept throwing changes at our Fausak Tires Fusion and we were determined to keep at it until we came up with something that worked. A new set of changes and the team pushed Christine into the qualifying line. “After struggling for 2 days we finally had our Fausak Tire Ford rolling the corners,” said Thomas. “It got to feeling too good to me on the money lap of qualifying and I overdrove the first corner costing us a few spots.” Even with an over anxious qualifying lap the Moose timed in the 5th spot. Before the race started the real excitement for the evening was the kid’s bike races.
After the kids put on a show it was time for the Moose and the Pro-Late Models. After weeks of fast cars and no results our team took a different approach to Friday nights race at 5 Flags, finish. With the drop of the green flag the Moose was lurking to move to the front but was being throttled back from the spotters stand. A smooth move to avoid a wreck on lap 2 was the beginning of changing the Moose’s luck at Pensacola. The first half of the race, 2,3,4 ran nose to tail with the Moose running at half throttles at times to keep from pressing the issue with the 3rd place car. A caution at the halfway point bunched the field back together and it was time to press the issue and move forward. While the Moose was ready to go, Christine had lost grip to the rear wheel and the Moose went from the hunter to the hunted. The Moose fended off the 5th place car until the Fausak Tire Fusion slid up off of turn 4 and the Moose slid back to 5th. With just a few laps left the Moose was able to hang on for a top 5 and for the first time this season a complete racecar at the end of a Pensacola race.
Thomas: “Our Fausak Tire Ford was great early but it just didn’t hang in there for the distance. Of course we haven’t been the distance all year so we were in unchartered territory. It was tough not racing hard early but I learned a lot about patience and finishing races. A top 5 and whole car almost feels like a win, now that we’ve made 40 laps on the old worn out surface we have some ideas that we hope will make us better at the end next time. Really looking forward to Mobile tonight.”
The Moose and the Fausak Tires and Service Ford Fusion will be back in action tonight at Mobile International Speedway for round 2 of the doubleheader weekend.
FAUSAK FUSION TESTED READY
Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile Testing 6-11-10: It took a total of 4 weeks to take every moving part of the Fausak Tires and Service Ford Fusion, have the chassis repaired and then put every moving part back on. After such an extensive rebuild the first few laps at speed are cause for a little anxiety. The weeks of preparation paid off as Christine was put the through it paces Thursday night at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. After the last race, not having anything fall off and not hitting anything was a good start. The Fausak Tires And Service Ford Fusion is slated to race at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway tonight and Mobile International Speedway tomorrow night.
Thomas: “We got off to a rough start, we blew a trailer tire on the way to Pensacola and when we loaded up the trailer I forgot to put the spares back in the trailer. As you can imagine Dad was real happy about waiting on me to go back to the shop and get the spares. We’ve been really fast this year and we were hoping our Fausak Tires Fusion would be right where it was but we have some work to do. We hammered away at it until they closed the track on us and then stayed after they turned the lights off working to make it better. We’ve got a short practice today to see if the changes we made last night are going to work. Fast or not we’re definitely ready to race!”
Picture: Fausak Tires & Service Ford Fusion testing at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway.
TIRES GOT MOOSE
Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile 6-9-10: Fausak Tires and Service takes a primary sponsor role for this weekends Gulf Coast doubleheader on the Moose’s Ford Fusion. “Summer is a busy travel time and we “Got Moose” this weekend to help remind people to check their tires before hitting the road for vacation,” said Chris Fausak of Fausak Tires. “The Moose always gets all he can get out of a set of tires and we’re excited to be on the hood this weekend.” Fausak Tires has serviced the Mobile area for 50 years and while there have been lots of changes in 50 years, Fausak’s commitment to quality has never changed. Thomas; “The Fausak family is so well known and respected in our area to carry the Fausak Tires logo on the hood this weekend is a big honor for me. Normally they get upset with me for abusing tires but I hope this weekend I get a chance to burn up a set on the way to victory lane.”
For more Fausak Tires: www.FausakTire.com
RETURN TO RACING THIS WEEKEND
Thomas Praytor 6-7-2010: Christine starts to take shape with doubleheader weekend ahead. With the weeks having turned to days our Max Force Race team has been hustling to bring our G Force Ford Fusion back to life. Frankie and Augie Grill left the halo bars around the seat but just about every other piece of the chassis was replaced in the GARC shop in Dolomite, Alabama. With each new piece of chassis comes more assembly and disassembly to get back to race status. Our McGunigell power plant spent a couple of days at Vanderley Engine in Gulfport for testing and tweaking to make sure we took a solid piece back to the racetrack this weekend. Christine is having the finishing touches put in place today and tomorrow with a test scheduled for Thursday night in Pensacola ahead of the Pensacola/Mobile doubleheader weekend. Thomas: “We’ve been working overtime in the shop getting ready to go again. The Grill’s did a fabulous job getting us back together and updating our car with the latest they have in their shop. Mr. Vanderley really put our motor through it’s paces on the dyno and I think he found us a few horsepower while we were there. Basically, we’re taking a brand new car to the track on Thursday, I can’t wait!”
CHASSIS BACK TO GRILL FOR REFURB
Thomas Praytor 5-26-10: The Miller Lite Super Late Models Series will take center stage this weekend at both 5 Flags and Mobile International Speedway giving the Moose and our Max Force team a much needed gap in the 2010 schedule. The 4-week span between starts gives the team time to take our battered Midnight to Frankie and Augie Grills Grand American Race Car shop in Dolomite, Alabama. The Grill’s have brought our car back to life more times than a vampire in a Twilight movie. Some track officials have started calling our car Christine, from the Stephen King movie. It leaves the track on Friday crushed and it shows back up in Mobile on Saturday night ready to race. Hopefully, the second half of the season will be kinder to our G Force Ford Fusion and our parts department than the first half.
Thomas: “We really needed this break, our team our cars, about everything we have was beat up. We’ve spent some long hours in the shop reloading and working on projects that have been set aside while we made those first 8 races. Our race shop is starting to look a little more organized, hopefully when our car gets back we’ll be ready to get to work on it. This weekend is Memorial Day and I want to take the time to thank all of our veterans past and future for their service. Mr. Tom (Claxton) was in the shop this week with his Marine hat on and it won’t be too much longer before Dana (Vanderley) heads to West Point. My Aunt Ellen says freedom is never free, we’ll be thinking about our troops this weekend.”Picture: Bare chassis being loaded up for Grand American Race Car shop.
FANS GOT MOOSE
Thomas Praytor Pensacola
5-14-10: After a successful test on Thursday at Pensacola’s 5 Flags
Speedway the Moose was looking forward to the doubleheader weekend on
the Gulf Coast. Five laps in to practice those plans would change
drastically when the throttle hung open on the G Force Ford Fusion going
in to turn 3 sending the Moose head first in to the outside retaining
wall. Thomas survived the impact with minor injury but Midnight did not.
The right side of the car was gone and the new suspension parts put on
from last weeks wreck at 5 Flags were gone with it. Fixing the wounded
machine will require weeks of work and a trip to the Grill’s Grand
American Race shop in Dolomite, Alabama. With a caster under the right
front of the car the team loaded up and our wounded machine and was
ready to head back to Mobile and begin work. Under normal circumstances
we would have been headed back to he race shop before most fans even
knew we were there but it was Meet the Driver Night and the Moose stayed
for the fan favorite event. Thomas, “The last place I wanted to be was
on the front stretch signing autographs. Our car wasn’t just fast it was
really fast and to go from hauling the mail to junk just made me sick.
It was so bad I called suicide hot line and they put me on hold. In the
end staying and meeting the fans was the perfect medicine. The fans are
incredible they really pumped me back up. We’ve already started working
on taking our car apart so it can go to Grill’s. Luckily we have a month
before we race again.”
Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile 5-12-10: After having another fast car with heartbreaking results, the Moose and our Max Force Team have been preparing our G Force Ford Fusion for a big Pensacola/Mobile doubleheader weekend. 5 Flags Speedway kicks off the weekend with their annual “Meet the Drivers Night”. Fans are invited down to the front stretch to visit with the drivers and their teams. The huge fan favorite event is the perfect time to introduce the new Got Moose? campaign. Posters (picture above), hero cards, t-shirts, huggers, bumper stickers, stickers and frisbees will be free to the fans on Friday night. For a Got Moose? fan pack drop us an email with your address. After the fans go back in the stands the Moose will be trying to toss the huge monkey (could be reaching Gorilla size at this point) off his back from the last few races on the coast. The Moose has clawed his way back into the top 5 in the point’s standings at Mobile International Speedway and is just 1 point out of the 4th spot. Saturday night he’ll be trying to improve on that position and move back into the top 5 finishing order.
Thomas: “We’ve had a lot of fun putting together the Got Moose? promotion. Brendan Catlin did a great job with the graphics and M & A Studios really made me look good. The whole deal got started when Mr. Rick (Crawford) saw a Got Moose? bumper sticker advertising a national park, then my Dad got rolling with it and I’m surprised we don’t have a Got Moose? blimp for the weekend. I just hope we got moose still running at the end of the races. Our G Force Fusion has been really fast and we just can’t seem to find a way to bring it home in one piece. Hopefully this weekend we’ll change that.”
For more Moose:www.MaxForceRacing.com
Got Moose Fan Pack
Poster, Hero Card, Bumper Sticker, T-Shirt, Frisbee & Hugger
GLOOM DESPAIR AND AGONY ON ME…….
The Moose spent Thursday prepping for the special Mothers Day outing at 5 Flags with school students and a little of their smarts rubbed off on our team with the Moose missing the pole by just 9 one hundredths of a second. The qualifying effort had the Moose starting on the front row outside of Mobile’s current Track Champion Donald Crocker. The outside lane is a tough hill to climb on the start and drivers can be shuffled as far back as the 6th or 7th spot before finding a spot to get down in the preferred groove. The Moose got a good start and found a hole behind Pensacola Track Champion Ronnie Smith and the Moose settled his G Force Fusion in to 3rd behind the pair of champions. While the Moose had turned in a solid qualifying effort, Midnight wasn’t ticking just right at the start of the race, the car was tight (The car didn’t want to turn left.) and the Moose searched for a line that would work. The Moose found a groove that worked better and he pace with the front 2 and put some distance on 4th place. A caution on lap 10 brought the field back together and on the restart the Moose had a mirror full of current points leader DJ Vanderley. After the last disaster at 5 flags the Moose was looking towards making the full 40 laps and didn’t put up a fight for the 3rd spot on lap 10. Putting distance on 5th and running forth behind a pair of track champions and the driver who had won all but 1 pro late model race on the coast, the Moose was logging laps or so he thought. The trio ahead of the Moose had different ideas; they were racing like it was the last 10 laps instead of the first 10. On lap 12, coming off of turn 4, the trio started wrecking, the Moose made a move to dodge the wreck but there was no place to hide and the Moose slammed the outside retaining wall knocking off the right front of the car. The incident took the top 5 cars out of contention and destroyed the car
behind the Moose. The Moose and our Max Force team are already getting ready for another double header weekend and Meet the Driver night at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway on Friday night.
Thomas: “We turned in another solid qualifying effort, really proud of our race team, we just keep coming back from adversity. Our G Force Ford Fusion was not the best car early in the race; we were trying to start a little on the tight side so we would be good at the end. We didn’t get past lap 12 so I don’t know if we were headed in the right direction or not. All we can do is keep bringing fast cars and we’ll get this giant monkey off our back.”
KIDS PREP MOOSE FOR PCOLA
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 5-6-10: Pensacola is making a rare Mothers Day weekend start on Friday night making up for the rain date last weekend. The Moose spent Thursday at 5 Flags with a 100 middle schoolers from Baldwin County as part of their reward for excelling in reading. Thomas, the Sunoco Gulf Coast Champion Johanna Long, 5 Flags Champion Ronnie Smith, Modified drivers Nathan and Bobby Engersoll and Derrick Johnson spent the day with the students. The kids climbed inside the cars to get a view from the drivers seat, picked up some autographs followed by a taste of race night. Part of the days activities was a 6-lap “exhibition” race with the Moose and Ronnie Smith. Waving the green flag in front of those 2 is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. The tell tale rev-limiter chip gave away how fast an “exhibition” the pair were putting on. Both crews and track owner Tim Bryant all breathed a collective sigh of relief with the waiving of the checkered flag. After the “exhibition” the Moose, Smith and Long gave the kids a ride in the pace car and pace truck. With the kids loaded back on the buses the Moose got down to business testing for Friday night.
Thomas: “We had a lot of fun, the kids were awesome. The kids thought G Force the guinea pig movie sponsored our car. Ronnie and I had a good time, I think the heat must have gotten to our chips, they kept going off and we weren’t going that fast. We were ready to go last Friday night when the rains came and our G Force Fusion picked up where it left off in practice.”
Thomas Praytor Mobile 5-1-10: After the disaster 2 weeks ago and the rainout the night before at 5 Flags the Moose was ready to rumble at Mobile International Speedway on Saturday night. Off the trailer our G Force Ford Fusion was bottoming out hard on the racetrack and the team worked to obtain the delicate balance of, as close to the track as you can be without hitting it. Even though the Moose has been close to the pole all season we are still tweaking our qualifying package and a new gear on Saturday night was part of that equation. Gears change how a car handles in the corners and the speed at the end of the straightaways, the gear selection for Saturday night tightened (the car doesn’t want to turn) Midnight up. Tight and bouncing off the track makes for an ill handling racecar. While the team was fighting handling issues other gremlins surfaced from the rebuild after the disaster 2 weeks ago. After the first practice the Moose noticed our just rebuilt rear end was too far back on the right side. The new right rear trailing arm bracket had broken its weld and spun pushing the right side of the rear end backwards. A port-a-power and a fresh weld had the rear end back in place and ready for the second practice. After the second practice the team prepped the G Force machine for qualifying and while straightening the steering wheel to set the sway bar the steering column snapped off in the Moose’s hand. Apparently the column had a hairline crack in it from the wreck and it finally broke. A problem in the pit, a broken steering column would have been a disaster if it happened on the racetrack. Fortunately we still had the welding machine out from the rear repair and without missing a beat the steering column was cut smooth and the steering wheel nut welded on the column. The problem with the quick repair was the steering wheel was now further away than before and would make for a different steering feel inside the G Force Fusion. Having to use the welding machine twice and we hadn’t even qualified was not a good omen. Even with the calamity of practice and the repairs the Moose missed the pole by just a tenth of second and he was 2 tenths faster than his last qualifying effort. The front of Saturday night’s field was so close that a tenth would put the Moose 4th and starting outside of the second row. With the drop of the green flag the outside row was freight trained by the inside line and the Moose would settle in to 5th. A missed shift by the leader on a restart scattered the field and put the Moose deeper in a hole trying to avoid running over the cars in front of him. The race took on a green flag look and went the distance without a caution. Under the long green flag Midnight became a handful for the Moose and our post race inspection found chunks of rubber out of the right rear tire. Pensacola’s reigning track champion, Ronnie Smith was able to slip by the Moose for the 5th spot and the Moose hung on for 6th. The 6th place finish put the Moose back in the top 5 in the Midwest Cooling Towers championship standings and just 1 point away from the 4th spot.
Thomas: “What a night! After our luck the last race, all the stuff that happened during practice really had you wondering what’s going to happen next. Our team did a great job making repairs on the fly during practice. Even after all that I thought our G Force Fusion was a pole car, I really missed the first lap and I think that hurt us on the money lap. Some of what we were trying for qualifying didn’t work for us in the race. We’re still working on how to make our car good over 35 laps. I should be happy we’re back in the top 5 in points and we rolled it in the trailer but I’m not.”
Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway has been rescheduled for a special Mothers Day weekend race on Friday night.
Picture: Crew thrashing on the G Force Fusion, port-a-power, welding machine and we haven’t even qualified. Plus you can’t see the guy under the car!
RAIN WASHES OUT 5 FLAGS
Thomas Praytor Pensacola, FL 4-30-10: Practice was in the books and our G force Ford Fusion was taped upped and ready to qualify when the rains blasted Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway. With the track lost, the races were postponed a week to next Friday night. Thomas, “We really had a great car and I’m really bumped out we didn’t get a chance to show it. The good news is we get to Mobile without rebuilding the car overnight.”
MOOSE LOOKING TO REBOUND IN DOUBLE-HEADER
The Moose spent Thursday afternoon prepping for round 3 of the Pensacola/Mobile
double-header weekends. Coming off of a brutal double header weekend 2 weeks
ago, wrecked both nights on the first lap, the Moose and our Max Force team
spent the last 2 weeks rebuilding the car from the wreck at Mobile International
Speedway. Most of the parts used on Saturday night in Mobile were spares after
the wreck in Pensacola on Friday night and what wasn't broken had to be replaced
with front line pieces. New pieces required a trip to Grand American Race Cars
in Dolomite, Alabama and a visit with chassis builder Augie Grill. A day at
Grand American was followed by a trip to Alabama's biggest track to lend a
helping hand to Mobile's Grant Enfinger. Enfinger leading the most laps at
Talladega shined a bright spotlight on the quality of racing on the Gulf Coast.
After Talladega our G Force Ford Fusion was stripped down and rebuilt from the
inside out. A rebuild of all the suspension parts leaves a lot of questions that
were answered as the Moose wound Midnight's clock at 5 Flags. Within a few laps
Midnight and the Moose were like peanut butter and jelly. Five Flags on Friday
night and Mobile International Speedway on Saturday night.
TO THE OUTHOUSE AND REPEAT
Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile 4-17/18-10: After a solid opening weekend the Moose was looking forward to the second round of double header racing on the coast with Pensacola on Friday night and Mobile on Saturday night. In working towards the Moose’s second regular season start at 5 Flags the team took a page or 2 out of the Vanderley’s playbook to improve our on track performance (DJ Vanderley was the fast qualifier at both tracks in the season opener). With changes in place the G Force Ford Fusion was better in testing on Thursday night and in Friday’s practice we tweaked on the car with some minor changes. On track for qualifying the Moose was in a zone and posted a lap of 16.97 seconds just missing the pole speed set by DJ Vanderley by 3 one hundredths of a second. Moving to the 16 second bracket in a 2 lap qualifying effort is a significant achievement for the Moose and our race team. The only other people who’ve been in the 16-second bracket in 2 laps are DJ, track record holder TJ Reaid and NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. Thomas, “I’ve never had a car like we had in qualifying, it was just perfect. I felt like I left a little on the table off of turn 2 but it was awesome. I knew we had turned a good lap I just didn’t know how good until I heard the number. I appreciate the Vanderley’s and our chassis builder Augie Grill for helping us get quicker.” While our qualifying time put the Moose second, a 6 on the dice roll invert would have the Moose rolling off 5th. The first corner of the green flag was clean with the Moose’s inside line moving and the Moose was racing side by side for 3rd headed into turn 3. The competitor on the outside of the Moose got loose and drove into the right rear of the G
(Picture: The Moose ready to qualify left, right the Moose working on getting the rear end out of the car) Ford Fusion sending the Moose spinning. Thomas, “I think DJ was the only car behind me that didn’t hit me. I saw one car go flying by the right side on 2 wheels after he ramped over my right rear.” On the hook on lap 1 after such a great qualifying effort was not what we were looking for. The impact tore off most of the right side of the car, shoved the rear end up to the seat and broke or bent everything that attaches to the rear end, shocks, trailing arms, panhard bar, drive shaft and shoved the motor forward a couple of inches and it snapped the shock mount off the car. (Picture at top is the car as we tried to get it to roll back in the trialer.) A wreck of this magnitude normally takes weeks and a trip back to the chassis builder to fix but our Max Force team was committed to Mobile on Saturday night. It took almost 4 hours to get the car back on the ground and rolling. The team worked almost nonstop from the time Midnight was dropped at the back of the trailer until it was loaded back into the trailer for MIS. Long time friend and sponsor Mike Walker, Walker Frame and Body came to the shop on Saturday morning and put his healing hands on our battered G Force Fusion. Walker has a long history of fixing our torn up cars and even cut up one of Tommy’s car into 3 foot sections so it would fit in the dumpster to throw it away. Walker spent hours cutting, fabbing and welding our ailing machine and when he said put the shocks on it, it took just 2 turns on 1 shock bolt to have the car back to it’s original scale numbers. While Walker worked on the frame, the rest of the crew worked on the body and making the changes to go from Pensacola to Mobile. Our team is normally at the gate waiting for it to open, we made the gate 10 minutes before practice started. Thomas, “Mr. Mike is the man. What he can do, it’s like watching an artist. All we could see was all the destruction; at the track on Friday night he was already working on how he was going to fix it. I didn’t know what kind of car we had when we rolled it off the trailer but I knew how proud I was of our race team for what they had accomplished. There are very few teams that could pull of what ours did, of course you have to be kind of nuts to even try.”
After a few shake down laps the Moose was rumbling around the familiar confines of Mobile International Speedway. Even with the back up rear end and all the repairs Midnight was close to ticking as fast as it was in the season opener. Our G Force Fusion was tight (wouldn’t turn in the corners) and the team threw a double handful of changes to free it up. We chose a bigger gear for qualifying and it hurt our qualifying effort but we were still within a tenth and half of our opening night effort. Rolling off 7th the Moose
(Pictures: left repaired and at the track in less than 24 hours, right back to work) had a long way to go the front with a car we were still struggling to find the handle on. On Saturday night we wouldn’t make the 1st turn as the competitor on the outside turned down into the right front on our G Force Fusion. The contact snapped the strut on the right front wheel assembly and ended the Moose’s night on the first lap again. From the penthouse to the outhouse and repeat. Thomas, “I just couldn’t believe it, my right front tire mark was ahead of the guys number and he still came down on me. All the hard work everyone had done just seemed wasted. Riding back in the wrecker for the 2nd night in a row was like being in a nightmare that wouldn’t end. By the time they got the car back to the trailer my team was waiting on me with the parts ready to fix it, what can you say? They had worked all night, all day and we were out on the first corner and they were ready to get back to work. We had a horrible points weekend but I couldn’t be prouder of our team. Congratulations to DJ on double poles and double wins and Grant Enfinger on his run in Texas.” The team has 2 weeks to get ready for round 3 of the Gulf Coast Two Step. This weekend the Moose will be in Talladega to lend a hand to Mobile’s Grant Enfinger’s Beasley Allen ARCA car.
MOOSE READY FOR DOUBLE HEADER
Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile 4-15-10: After 3 weeks off the Moose prepped for this weekend’s doubleheader at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway and Mobile International Speedway with a test yesterday afternoon at 5 Flags. Volunteer crew can be hard to find for a daytime test during the workweek, so we even had Julie (Mom-nickname Chad) changing tires (picture). While the crew was a little slower than normal the Moose was not. With very little experience on long runs the team only used the tires from the feature from 3 weeks ago. Flat spotted and worn out the G Force Ford Fusion was a handful but let the Moose gain valuable on track experience that should pay off in the closing laps of tonight’s 40-lap feature. In addition to the Moose and the Midwest Cooling towers Pro-Late Models, the Praytor Realty Super Stocks will be in action on Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway.
Thomas: “We had a solid opening weekend and we need to follow that up this weekend. We proved that our G- Force Fusion can run in the top 5 and we need to finish there again this weekend. Good luck to Grant Enfinger tonight in the ARCA race in Texas.”
Mobile’s Grant Enfinger, set a new track record in qualifying yesterday to have it washed away when rain cancelled qualifying for the ARCA ReMax Series race in Texas. The field was et by points and Grant will roll off 14th. The race can be seen live on Speed at 6:30.
OFF WEEK-WHAT OFF WEEK?
Thomas: “I really appreciate Mr. Rick (Crawford) and Blake (Bainbridge) letting me work with the team this weekend in Nashville. Every time I get an opportunity to work with them I learn so much. In our first race at Mobile our G Force Ford got a little tight at the end of the race. We’ve got some long run changes we want to try this week in Mobile so we can test at Pensacola next week.
Picture: Moose preparing to catch tires during a pit stop at Nashville Superspeedway.
MOOSE HOPS INTO ACTION
FOR EASTER BUNNY DOUBLE HEADER
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 3-27-10: After testing on Thursday night the Moose and his G Force Ford Fusion were ready for round one in his quest for the Rookie of the Year title at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. The Moose qualified respectable 7th for his first Friday night feature in a late model at 5 Flags. With the drop of the green flag the bottom lane bottled up and the Moose was forced back to 9th before the field settled down and started working down the laps. The Moose artfully clicked off each competitor working his way up into the top 5. With 8 to go the Moose got sent for a ride in turn 2 and slammed the outside wall backwards. On pit road our Max Force team did their best to tape the rear end back on the car. The Moose rolled back on the track with no trunk deck and the spoiler was flopping in the wind. Under green the Moose passed a few cars but Midnight wasn’t ticking like it was before the accident. After a nice run up into the top 5 the Moose would have to settle for 10th. Thomas, “We raced better than we qualified. I pushed too hard on my first lap of qualifying and I left a lot on the table. Our G Force Fusion was really good in the race I wished we could have finished the race in one piece.”
The Praytor Realty Super Stocks opened the season with a bang with the old track record being broken 3 times! Jessie Reid turned the best time and is the new track record holder for the rough and tumble division. The extended lap feature opened the 2010 season for the Super Stocks and after multiple lead changes Birmingham’s Paul Jean took home the win. While the action was hopping on the track the Easter Bunny was handing out Easter candy for the kids from Praytor Realty in the grandstands. MIS is closed for Easter weekend and will be back in action in 2 weeks with round 1 of the Miller Lite Super Late Model Series.
1. Moose ready to qualify at 5 Flags
2. Rear end of the car in the shop
3. Andrew Vickers and Collin Kraft working on the car at MIS
5. Easter Bunny at MIS
5. Paul Jean opening night winner in the Praytor Realty Super Stocks
MOOSE READY TO RUMBLE
Thomas Praytor 3-25-10: All the prep all the hype goes out the window this weekend as the first Late Model Doubleheader weekend on the Gulf Coast starts tonight at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway followed by Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway. The Moose and his Max Force team were at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway last night putting the finishing touches on his G Force Ford Fusion. The Moose turned a lot of laps trying to get the feel of the cheese grater pavement at 5 Flags on old wore out tires. After slipping and sliding for 50 laps on old tires, the team bolted on a fresher set of old tires (Unlike NASCAR and high dollar late model teams, the Moose practices on old tires to save money. As a result we have different levels of used tires.) to wrap up the Thursday night practice session. Solid off the trailer to in the trailer the Moose is ready for double duty.
Thomas: “I’m ready to race! That’s really all there is to it. Our guys have done a great job in getting our G Force Fusion ready to go and it’s time to line up and see what we have. We had a good test last night, I learned a lot from following Eddie Mercer on the racetrack and talking with him after he got out of the car. I really appreciate him helping me out. This is a big weekend, opening night sets the tone for the first part of the season and we want to run up front and complete all the laps at Pensacola and Mobile this weekend. I’ve spent the first couple of races with the Circle Bar team this year and I want to congratulate Mr. Rick (Crawford) on making his 325th start in the Truck Series. I wish I could be there with them this weekend in Martinsville but I’ll have to catch up with them next week in Nashville.”
Picture: Moose on the move at Pensacola 5 Flags
RACE WEEK FINALLY HERE
Thomas Praytor 3-22-10: The months and weeks of waiting are now down to days as the opening of the 2010 racing season is this weekend. The Moose opens the year attempting a double-header, Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway on Friday night and Mobile International Speedway on Saturday night. Double duty will be a common theme this year as the Moose attempts to become the Rookie of the Year at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway and a coveted track championship at Mobile International Speedway. As we count down the days to opening night we are releasing our Max Force 2010 Racing Guide. The Guide consists of 30 pages of pictures, stories, track information, bios and much more about our Max Force race team. For your copy just drop us an email and we’ll get one out to you.
MAX FORCE TEAM SOLID
IN RARE SATURDAY DOUBLEHEADER
Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile 3-15-10: For the first time in the modern era Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway and Mobile International Speedway hosted an open test on the same day. Our Max Force crew spent weeks prepping for the single day test at both tracks and had a solid game plan for the doubleheader. Two members of our all-volunteer crew were called to work on Saturday sending us into the busiest racing day of the year with 2 crew-members with an average age of 16. Andrew Vickers and Collin Kraft stepped up to the plate and performed like veterans. With dozens of teams testing on Saturday, the Moose and his Max Force team were the only Late Model team to test at both racetracks. After a couple of trips through Ricky Brook’s tech line, better known as the “Room of Doom” (It took more than 1 trip because we had some “issues” that needed to be fixed.) the Moose hit the worn out old pavement at 5 Flags Speedway. A new setup from chassis builder Augie Grill had the Moose quick off the trailer at Pensacola. During the morning we tried several different combinations to the G Force Fusion and the morning test went as planned. While the track was taking a lunch break we made the change over from our Pensacola setup to our Mobile setup. Shock, springs gears and a couple of other things we don’t want to print went into getting the car ready for Mobile. During the change over a piece on the rear end broke that required a stop at the race shop before going to MIS. Even with the stop at the shop we were at MIS just after they opened at 4 and ready to go. Back off the trailer the Moose was rumbling on the smooth high banks of Mobile International Speedway. As the test wore on our car just didn’t want to get up to speed like we had been the week before and everything we tried seemed to make it slower. A late change made us better but we left MIS disappointed with the speed of our G Force machine. In our post-test tear down on Sunday in the shop the culprit for the less than stellar performance was found in the rear end. The pinion gear had started to disintegrate and was within a few laps of coming apart completely. The team already has the rear end out and being repaired for the March 26/27 5 Flags /MIS double-header weekend. The Moose has this weekend off but the rumble on the Gulf Coast starts this weekend with a double-header opening weekend at 5 Flags/ MIS with the TBARA Winged Sprint Cars.
Thomas: “Saturday was a long day, it really put us to the test but it was worth it. Our change plans for Pensacola to Mobile worked like we needed them to. Andrew and Collin really came through big, we couldn’t have done it without them. We practiced well at Pensacola but our mock qualifying effort was not what we were looking for. At Mobile we were good off the trailer and kept getting slower. Our mock qualifying run was not as fast as we wanted but it was a good effort. The gear problem explains a lot and I’m glad we found it before opening night. I learned a lot about both tracks by doing them in the same day. Back to back it kind of messes with your head and somehow I think that was part of my Dad’s plan all along.”
Picture: (L-R) G-Force Ford Fusion going through Ricky Brook’s tech line, better known as the “Room of Doom”, 2 arm bands in 1 day-a rare happening on the Gulf Coast, Thomas and his team for double header test day, Collin and Andrew.
5 FLAGS/MIS SINGLE DAY
ATLANTA-TESTING STARTS COUNTDOWN
TO OPENING NIGHT
Thomas Praytor, Atlanta Motor Speedway-Mobile International Speedway: 3-8-10. The Moose kicked off a busy March at Atlanta Motor Speedway working as a crew-member on Mobile’s Rick Crawford Circle Bar Racing Ford F-150. Watching the Mobile native wheel his F-150 into the top 10 on the high banks of Atlanta Motor speedway had the Moose on the juice for his season opening test at Mobile. An off-season filled with tedious work on the G-Force Fusion paid dividends in our first time on the track this year. After a couple of laps to shake Midnight down, the Moose had Midnight’s clock wound up. One of the off-season changes was a new brake package from Brake Man brakes. The folks at Brake Man recalibrated our brake system and supplied us a with new front and rear brake compounds for the tracks we’re slated to run this season. The new brakes worked too well, changing the balance on the car and the team worked on keeping the nose of the car off the racetrack. After four hours of testing and tweaking the Moose was rumbling faster than he had ever been before. Our Max Force team will test 2 tracks in the same day this Saturday, Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway in the morning/afternoon and Mobile International Speedway in the afternoon/night. Throughout the season we’ll be doing double duty with Pensacola on Friday night and Mobile on Saturday night, Saturday will give us an opportunity to see how well we can make the changes to our car on the fly. Both tracks open with a double-header weekend on March 19-20 with the TBARA Winged Sprint cars, with opening night for the Moose a week later on March 16-17 with a double-header weekend at 5 Flags and MIS.
Thomas: “An incredible weekend, working with the Circle Bar team Friday and Saturday, testing our car on Sunday. I really appreciate Mr. Rick and the guys letting me work with them in Atlanta. Every time I work with them I learn something knew and they elevate my game. Congratulations on their first top 10 of the season. We spent months working on a really good car and it paid off making it better. We were good when we rolled off the trailer and only got better. I wish we were dropping the green flag for real this weekend but we’re going to have to wait a couple of weeks. The double test planned for Saturday should be interesting, 2 tracks in one day, we’ve never done that before.”
Picture: Team looking at tire temperatures, (L-R) Andrew, Ben, Thomas & Olivia
MOOSE WRAPS UP SPEEDWEEKS IN DAYTONA
Thomas: “I really appreciate Mr. Rick and the rest of the team letting me work with them in Daytona. I had a great time, I learned a lot and now it’s time to get our G-Force Ford Fusion ready to go. Testing starts at the end of the month and we’re working on putting the finishing touches on Midnight. We’ve got a busy season planned and the work we do in the off-season pays off all year long. After 2 weeks in Daytona I’m ready to race this weekend.”
MOOSE STARTS SPEEDWEEKS IN DAYTONA
WITH NASCAR MEDIA DAY
Thomas Praytor Daytona Beach, FL 2-5-10: The Moose started the 2010 racing season on the other side of the microphone during NASCAR’s Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. As part of Fausak Tires Inside Alabama Racing broadcast team, the Moose anchors the Moose Call every Wednesday night on WNSP. During media day the Moose garnered interviews with some of the biggest names in NASCAR for a special segment on Drivers first racecars to air in February. Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Denny Hamlin, Mike Bliss, Carl Edwards, Casey Mears, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Ron Hornaday, Marcos Amborse, David Reuttiman, Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Rick Crawford and Michael Waltrip will be featured in a special My First Racecar Moose Call. Next up for the Moose, lending a helping hand with Mobile’s Grant Enfinger in the ARCA ReMax Series this weekend.
Thomas: “It was really interesting to talk to the best drivers in the sport about their first racecars and how they got started in racing. Just about every driver I talked to had a great story about their first racecar and their first car was a long way away from what they are driving now.”