Tommy Praytor Photo's
2011 Racing Recaps
MOOSE MAKES MOST OF DAYTONA CHANCE
Thomas Praytor 12/17-18/11 Daytona Beach, FL: Under the watchful eye of long time ARCA team owner Andy Belmont and the guiding hands of veteran crew chief Lee Leslie, the Moose was set to make his first laps at Daytona International Speedway during the ARCA test for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. "I've been to Daytona a lot and signing in happens every time I go but on this trip my hands weren't quite as steady signing the sign in sheet. The place is just awe inspiring and signing in as the driver for the first time was when it really set in," said the Moose. Due to a freak accident on Friday, on pit road, with one of the Belmont cars the Moose had a long day on Saturday before he would make his first laps as practice wound down. "I worked with a lot of the crew in Salem over the Summer and they helped me get settled in to the ModSpace Ford Fusion. Those first few Laps were like nothing I've ever done before. The G's you pull in the corner really push you down in the seat." A couple of short get acquainted sessions on Saturday led to some long green flag runs on Sunday.
While the Moose was making his first laps, ABR's 2 other cars were itching for drafting practice. Short a spotter on Sunday, the "elder Praytor", Tommy, was in the spotting stand at Daytona for the first time since the 2001 Daytona 500. "I'm not going to say I've been avoiding the place since 2001 but I will say it sure was easy to have my PR, TV or Radio jobs keep me from spotting at Daytona. I guess there couldn't have been a better reason to go back up top than to help Andy, who was giving Thomas such a big opportunity. Watching Thomas from the roof sure made it feel like the right decision," offered Tommy.
After getting past his first laps on Saturday the Moose was able to settle in on Sunday. "Everything was just more comfortable and we really got a chance to start working on the stopwatch. Andy and Lee really took the time to help make me better. Their experience probably cut the learning curve in half for me, I really can't thank everyone at Andy Belmont Racing enough for all their help this weekend."
With the haulers loaded and ready to head back to North Carolina, Andy Belmont reflected on the Moose's weekend; "Thomas did a great job. He listened well each time he got in the car he improved. I would rate his test a huge success and we're looking for the right opportunity for him. We'd love to have him in one of our cars."
From the high banks of Daytona the Moose and his Max Force team return to the shop in Mobile to start working on the Legend Cellars Pro Late Model that was torn up at the Snowball Derby in Pensacola.
Pictures: Top - The Moose on track in ModSpace Ford at Daytona International Speedway. Middle - Team Owner Andy Belmont debriefing with the Moose after a run at Daytona. Bottom - The Moose with his Late Model crew during testing at Daytona International Speedway.
MOOSE ON ARCARACING.COM
Longtime Daytona Visitor Praytor Gets Chance
MOOSE TESTING IN DAYTONA
Thomas Praytor 12-15-11: With Christmas just days away Santa came a little early this year when the Moose got the word from ARCA's director of Competition, Joe Wells, that he was cleared to test at the World Center of Speed, Daytona International Speedway. "This is just an incredible opportunity, it's DAYTONA! I can't thank Mr. Andy and Mrs. Jennifer ( Belmont ) enough for giving me the chance," offered the Moose. "I started coming to Daytona with my Dad and the Outdoor Channel when I was 12. The last few years it's been as a crew member for Rick Crawford's truck team. Just coming to Daytona is awesome, getting to make a lap well it's just hard to put into words." The Moose will get his opportunity behind an Andy Belmont Racing Ford on Saturday. "Thomas spent some time at our home and with our race team this year. He is a fine young man. We thought this might be a way to help jump start his ARCA career." ARCA testing for the season opening Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 runs through Sunday afternoon with live timing and scoring available on www.arcaracing.com.
Picture: Top - Thomas on the Andy Belmont Racing ModSpace crew at Salem; Bottom - Thomas with Jason Jarrett at Daytona in 2002
MOOSE LOSES GRANDPA MAX
Thomas Praytor 44th Annual Snowball Derby: Derby weekend took a different tone on Friday night when the news came from Oklahoma that Thomas's Grandpa, Max Herman passed away. Grandpa Max had been hospitalized earlier this week from complications of the heart disease he has been battling for years. Friday night he lost that battle. Our Max Force team name comes from Thomas and Hayley's departed brother, Max Praytor who was named for Grandpa Max. Team owner Tommy Praytor: "We will withdraw are Snowball entry this morning from the last chance race this afternoon (we missed the starting 30 in Derby qualifying) so we can make preparations on Sunday to head to Oklahoma. Max was a big supporter of Thomas's racing and he would probably be mad with us if we pulled out today, so we will compete in today's Snowflake 100."
MOOSE MAKES TOP 10 ON MORNING
SPEED CHART - FINISHES DAY AT FAST EDDIES
Thomas Praytor 44th Annual Snowball Derby: A solid early practice in the Legend Cellar Super car put the Moose 8th on the speed charts in the first practice of weekend. "We really found a nice balance on the Super in the morning. The Pro was not so good in the afternoon. We'll work on it some more this morning and get ready to qualify the Super tonight," offered the Moose. After a long day at 5 Flags the Moose made it over to Fast Eddies Fun Center for their Annual Snowball Derby Challenge. The Moose joined David Ragan, Chase Elliott, Johanna Long, Ross Kenseth, Josh Hamner and more for the Annual charity event to kick off Derby weekend.
SPEED 51 PEGS MOOSE AT 40-1 ODDS
Thomas Praytor 44th Annual Snowball Derby: The odd makers at Speed 51.com have declared the Moose chances at this year's Derby at 40-1 against. "We knew coming in we were a long shot but I think I'd like to have a little of the 40-1 action. Our Max Force team has worked really hard to put together 2 really nice Legend Cellars Fusions for this weekend," said the Moose. "It looks like a typical NASCAR/ARCA weekend here at 5 Flags. There are guys off of just about every NASCAR team in the pits. The level of competition is not only up there but we have 130 cars on the ground. I can't wait to get on the track!" both Legend Cellars Fusion cleared Ricky Brooks "Room of Doom" tech line today with a few issues but with stickers as they left. Practice begins tomorrow at 10:00AM. For live updates throughout the day go to Speed51.com.
DERBY WEEK FINALLY HERE!
Thomas Praytor-44th Annual Snowball Derby: The weeks of building, primping and testing are finally over with the official start of Derby week. “We spent all day Friday at 5 Flags testing our Legend Cellars Fusion. We tried a lot of different setups and I’m finally feeling like I’m driving the Super instead of it driving me,” said the Moose. “We’re still a long shot to make both races this weekend but we given it everything we had. Our team has worked almost non-stop in the weeks leading up to the Derby from our last regular season race. In or out, win or lose I’m really proud of our race team.” Over 100 late model teams will move in on Wednesday morning for technical inspection on Wednesday followed by the Green flag kick off party on Wednesday night. Teams will test on Thursday & Friday for qualifying for the Snowball Derby on Friday night. The Moose will even take part in Fast Eddie’s Fun Center Snowball Derby Challenge on Thursday night. Qualifying for the Snowflake 100 will be Saturday and the race on Saturday night. The 44th Annual Snowball Derby will roll off on Sunday afternoon.
RAIN WASHES OUT HALF OF WEEKEND TESTING
Thomas Praytor 11-21-11 Snowball Derby Testing: What should have been a weekend of testing turned into a long weekend of waiting on Mother Nature. “We tried to stay as busy as we could on Saturday with tires, tech and trying to get ready for the rain to let up. We were a little worried about the Super car getting through tech for the first time. Anytime you hang a new body and have to go through the “Room of Doom” for the first time it’s always and adventure. The rain gave us a little extra time on Saturday to get everything just right in meeting the templates and referee,” offered the Moose. The rain let up on Sunday and our Max Force team was more than ready. “We replaced the front brake rotors and pads on the Pro Legend Cellars Fusion and we shook it down first. Christine was just like we left it her after our first test and we moved over to the Super. I’m not sure who needed more work me or the Super. We made some big gains but not enough to feel good about our Super car. We’ll get one more shot at it on Friday.” Our Max Force Team has a full day test slated for Friday.
SNOWBALL DERBY TESTING IS HERE
Thomas Praytor Snowball Derby 2011: With the decision to take to 2 cars to the 44th Annual Snowball Derby the Moose becomes 1 of 24 drivers slated for double duty at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. This years entry list has over 110 cars so far with more expected as the first weekend in December approaches. “The guys have been working day and night on getting the Legend Cellars Super car ready for the test this weekend. The tech line will be open Saturday and we’ll try to get both cars through the “Room of Doom” ahead of the Derby weekend,” offered the Moose. 5 Flags Speedway will be open on Saturday for testing for all cars and pre technical inspection. Our Max Force team is currently slated for testing all day on Saturday and again on Sunday. “The Boss is pulling out all the stops trying to get both of our Legend Cellar Fusions into both fields at the Derby . He’s slated a full weekend test this weekend and I heard he has the track for the day after Thanksgiving if this weekend doesn’t get the speed we’re looking for. We may not make either field but it won’t be because we didn’t give it everything we had!” Move in for the 44th Annual Snowball Derby is Wednesday November 30th with practice on Thursday, qualifying for the Supers on Friday, qualifying and race for the Pro’s on Saturday with the Snowball Derby rolling off Sunday afternoon.
TESTING AND THRASHING
Thomas Praytor Snowball Derby: With less than 30 days to move in day for the 44th Annual Snowball Derby the Moose and his Max Force team are in full Derby mode. The team spent a full day at 5 Flags testing the Legend Cellars Fusion Pro-Late Model. "We had a really good test. We tried a lot of different combinations and the guys really worked hard on making changes to our Legend Cellars Fusion," said the Moose "Testing makes for a long day, with lots of work in between getting back on the track. We started the year fast in qualifying and then we were too free to race. By the end of the year we were better in the race but too tight for qualifying. We spent our day working on areas of the car we haven't worked in yet without giving up on either. Our mock qualifying run in the middle of the day would have gotten us in last year's field and our long green flag runs were really good." With just a few maintenance items needing attention on the Pro car the team now turns its attention the set of tubes that is the Legend Cellars Super Late Model. "As good as we feel about the Pro and the kind of year we've had with the Super, everyone on our team except one person was ready to let the Super sit until next year. Well I can't really say it the colorful way my Dad said it but we're in full thrash mode getting ready for an attempt at the Snowball Derby." Open testing and courtesy technical inspection at 5 Flags is November 19th. Work is at a fever pitch to present both cars to Ricky Brooks Room of Doom on the 19th.
GRILL-TALLADEGA-TESTING AND WWE?
Thomas Praytor 10-28-11: A busy off season keeps getting busier for the Moose and his Max Force Team. Last weekend started with the Moose at the Grand American Race Cars shop in Birmingham, Alabama with the Legend Cellars Super Chassis. “I pretty much hit everything but the lottery with the Super car during my rookie season and we wanted to make sure the chassis was straight as we prepare for a possible Snowball Derby attempt. It didn’t take Augie (Grill) long to check it and see the front clip was bent. Mr. Frankie (Grill) just glanced at it and the plasma cutter was chopping off the front of the car. We’ve got a lot of work to do on the Super in the next month,” offered the Moose. After a trip to the Grill’s the Moose was off to Talladega to work as a crew member on the Bragg’s BRG Motorsports NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry with Grant Enfinger behind the wheel. “Really appreciate the Bragg’s letting me be a part of their first NACAR effort in Talladega. My Dad and I have raced against Josh (Bragg) and his Dad for years and they are great competitors. The BRG team was almost an all local effort on one of NASCARs biggest stages. 12th place in their first time out was really cool.” Back from Talladega, the Moose and his Max Force Team have been wide open fine tuning the Legend Cellars Pro-Late Model “Christine” for a Sunday test at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. “I’m glad we’re in the off season because I don’t know when we would have time to race. We’ve been working late every night trying to make sure we have our very best piece for Sunday. We spent almost 2 hours working on the rear bumper cover. We weren’t putting on a new one just getting the one we had, just like what it needed to be. While one group has been working on the Pro another group has been painting the Super chassis. Hopefully we can start putting it back together in the next few days. We have a long ways to go with the Super and it may not be ready for the Derby but we’re hard at it.” While the work is almost non-stop at the race shop the thrashing will come to a dead stop for Mobile International Speedway’s “Halloween Bash” on Saturday night. A full night of racing including Motorcycles wrapped up with the Pitts and Sons Demolition Derby and WWE’s Paul Bearer. “Leave it up to Mr. Rick (Crawford) to bring WWE to the racetrack. We’ve had a wild year at MIS, Larry the Cable Guy, Bubba Blackwell jumping Coke trucks and even an airplane landed on the track! Now the Undertaker’s manager, scared to ask what’s next. My Mom is a big WWE Undertaker fan so I’m sure she’ll be on the front row. Her claim to the WWE is she once touched Triple H.” After taking in the Bash on Saturday night the team will load up for a day of testing at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway and the 44th Annual Snowball Derby.
BUSY OFF SEASON CONTINUES
Thomas Praytor 10-18-11: While the regular season is over we haven’t slowed down. After a trip to Montgomery to watch his twin sister Hayley play softball in Huntingdon’s fall tournament on Saturday the Moose was back at the track on Sunday. Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track played host to the Drive Tech Racing School on Sunday and the Moose was an instructor and driver for the ride-along program. “We worked hard on Sunday but we had a really good time with all the people who came through the driving school. Driving for the ride-alongs was a lot of fun. After everyone left I took some of my crew members out for a ride in the ride along car and lets just say I think there might have been a need for some new underwear,” offered the Moose. The week ahead is just as busy with a trip to our chassis builder, GARC, in Birmingham then over to Talladega to help Grant Enfinger in his first start for BRG Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Moose + Machine Gun = Not Good
Thomas Praytor Mobile 10-14-11: While the regular season is complete, the Moose and his Max force team have been busy. On Thursday the Moose’s Legend Cellars machine and Text Thug/Text Meth Hauler were on display at the Mobile County Sheriff’s, Sam Cochran, SWAT Training and shooting range. “Watching the SWAT guys and talking to our Deputies about what’s going on out there makes you really appreciate the job they’re doing keeping us all safe. It’s an honor for me to be a small part of their program,” offered the Moose. While at the firing range the Moose had an opportunity to test his marksmanship with some of the weapons Deputies use daily including, pistols, sub machine guns and a 50 caliber sniper rifle. “I at least hit a few targets with the pistol but I needed every round in the machine gun. I can’t thank the Deputies enough for taking the time to share what they do.”
There may not be any races but the Moose’s schedule hasn’t slowed down. This weekend the Moose will be in Montgomery on Saturday to watch his twin sister, Hayley, start her Senior season with the Huntingdon Hawks Softball Fall Tournament. The Moose will hustle back to Mobile to be an instructor/driver for the ______ driving school at Mobile International Speedway on Sunday.
"TOP TEN AND ALL 4 CORNERS"
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway 10-8-11: Saturday’s Night of champions at Pensacola marked the end of the regular season for racing on the Gulf Coast. The Moose and his Max Force team were clinging to a top 10 spot in the Allen Turner Hyundai’s Championship Standings in a crowded 27-car field for Snowball Derby tune up. Our Legends Cellars Fusion tested well on Friday night working on race setups only. Qualifying on Saturday showed our lack of attention to a qualifying effort and the Moose would roll off a disappointing 21st. “We really got tired of qualifying well and not being good in the race so we’ve been working on our race setup. For the Derby we’re going to have to step up our qualifying effort,” said the Moose. Starting that far back changes the game plan for 100 lap race and the Moose logged laps at the first of the race figuring out what the car needed to go 100. With the first caution, the Moose came to pit road. Our normal crew was scattered to the wins on Saturday leaving us one crew-member, Lee Wingard. We enlisted the help of JJ Day and Wes Barnhill and their crew. “Our pick up team did an awesome job all night even getting us a spot or two on pit road.” With an adjustment and back under green the Moose started slicing his way from 27th up to 14th in the front half of the race. “Lapped traffic was incredible again. We lost a lap to the leader trying to get around lapped traffic. One car was using the entire track you think they were giving you the bottom and when you got next to them they would come all the way down the racetrack. If you went outside they went all the way to the top. We had a good car and we were trying to be gentle with them but it cost us.” With 25 to go the Moose got the lap back and being the last car on the lead lap it was a perfect time to come to pit road for a final adjustment. Back under green the Moose was rumbling again and worked his up to just outside of the top 10 with 10 to go. A close call with Josh Hamner and Dwayne Buggay cost the Moose valuable track position with just a few laps left. “We caught Hamner and Buggay and they were racing hard when they got together I just had to hit the brakes to keep from running over them. They got it sorted out and we stayed green but I lost a lot of time.” The Moose scrambled back to Buggay and with an outside move on the final lap made his way into the top 10. “A top ten, all 4 corners on the car and moving forward in the final laps instead of backwards is a solid end to a long season. We’re going to half to find some speed for our Legend Cellars Fusion for qualifying for the Derby but tonight was a good night. Congratulations to DJ (Vanderley) and his team they had another great season sweeping both Mobile and Pensacola’s Championship. The 2 car is like the rabbit at a dog track we keep chasing them.” The Moose’s 10th place finish moved him up to 8th out of the 55 cars that competed in this years Allen Turner Hyundai’s Championship Series.
For race rewinds speed51.com and z3sports.com
Picture: Legend Cellars Fusion Post Race
WILDEST VIDEO OF THE YEAR!!
LEE FIELDS MEMORIAL BULLDOGS THE MOOSE
Thomas Praytor Mobile 10-1-11: The Moose and his Legend Cellars Team took advantage of every minute of 3 days of practice for the biggest race on the MIS calendar, the Lee Fields Memorial 150. With a special championship belt on the line and wrestling legend Cowboy Bob Kelly as the Grand Marshall this years race was going to be a no holds barred affair. "We moved in on Thursday and used every minute to make our Legend Cellars Fusion a contender. Our guys worked their butt off, we tried everything. If it worked one way we went the other just to make sure we were going in the right direction. On Saturday when they put transponders on the cars we were 4th quick and we felt like were in a good spot," offered the Moose. "We rolled out to qualify and the car handled good we just weren't fast." The Moose qualified 14th and with the drop of the green flag Christine did not come to life. A long green flag run and the Moose was a lap down and fought to get the lap back getting the pass on the caution before the half time break. The Lee Fields 150 is different than any other race of the year at MIS, it's a 150 laps, cautions count and there is 10 minute break at lap 75 that teams have the option of taking 2 tires and make changes. After qualifying we grabbed everyone we could find to make all the changes we wanted to the car during the 10-minute break. Back on the lead lap the Moose brought his Legend Cellars machine to pit road. During the 10 minutes the team changed 2 tires, cleaned and repressured the other 2 tires, made a wedge adjustment, sway bar adjustment, trac bar adjustment, bump rubbers and changed the rear end gear. After the break the Moose ready to go. A quick caution let the team make one more adjustment and the Moose was rumbling. At lap 92 there was another caution and on the restart one of the cars in front of the Moose didn't go and the accordion effect had the car in front rear bumper up to the windshield knocking a hole in our Dubz radiator ending the night too soon. "Our guys really worked hard all weekend and it looked like we finally hit on some speed for our Legend Cellars Fusion with the changes we made at the break. When someone doesn't go on a restart it's going to be ugly and this time it was us. Really disappointing, it's the way our season has been we've had good cars and some really rotten luck. Congratulations to Bubba Pollard on the win and DJ Vanderley and his team on their back to back Championships." Even with the rough outing at the Lee Fields Memorial 150 the Moose finished 5th in the Championship points standings.
On Friday Praytor Realty lost it's senior agent of 33 years Sullins Arendall. "Praytor Realty is a family business and I've known Mrs. Sullins my whole life. When I got my real estate license she sat me down and told me what I needed to be doing and how to be successful. I wish I had recorded our talks she was awesome. We're all going to miss her." Thomas
Picture: Legend Cellars Fusion on track. From Speed51.com
Thomas Praytor 9-30-11 Mobile, Alabama: After getting roughed up in the final Super Double Late Model outing of the 2011 season the Moose was back at home last night testing at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track. "We felt like our Super (Late Model) shock package would be good for Mobile so we bolted them on and old Christine came to life," offered the Moose. Thomas and his Max Force team were shaking down their Legend Cellars Fusion for the Lee Fields Memorial 150 in the first night of practice at MIS. "Mr. Rick (Crawford) has upped the ante this weekend with the trophy being the Lee Fields Championship Belt. Everyone wants a shot at the title and everyone is ready to wrestle for the belt. The final 10 laps on Saturday night are going to look like a
WWE cage match!"
Practice continues tonight for the Midwest Cooling Towers Pro-Late Models with qualifying and heat races for the Bombers, Sportsman, Modifieds and Super Stocks. Tonight every pass is a pit pass with a free pit party after!
Saturday night all classes will race feature races and the Pro Late Models will grapple for the undisputed Heavyweight Championship of Mobile International Speedway, the Lee Fields Memorial 150.
Picture: Lee Fields with Ken Stabler at Mobile International Speedway. Circa Nineties.
FINAL SUPER DOUBLE, MOOSE-
“IT WAS LIGHT THEN IT WAS DARK”
Thomas Praytor 9-23-24-11: Pensacola-Mobile: After a solid test on Thursday night at 5 Flags the Moose and his Max Force team their Turner Motorsports Legend Cellars Fusion out of the hauler with a brighter outlook for the weekend. Practice was solid and the Moose was 14th on the board out of 25 drivers, a solid improvement for our rookie team. Qualifying wasn’t disappointing with the Moose turning in a 23rd place starting position. “I think I just went to sleep on qualifying. We got really comfortable in practice on long runs and I was way to comfortable in qualifying. Qualifying needs to be right on the edge for a good time and I just didn’t push it like I needed to,” said the Moose. Starting close to the back of a big field we decided to give the pack lots of room on the start and after a couple of cautions we’d turn the Moose loose. The best made plans, with the drop of the green flag the Buddy’s Home Furnishings 100 went 100 laps without a caution. 8 laps in everyone settled down and the race started to take on a green flag look. After spotting the field some room to get going we were now scrambling to get caught back up and the Moose started passing cars. The leader set a blistering pace lapping all but 3 cars and the Moose rallied to 18th. “We were really tight all night long but we’ve been really loose all year. Way can make one tight pretty easy so hopefully we’ get an in between for Pensacola. It’s the first 100 laps we’ve finished in a Super at Pensacola that I can remember (The previous 100 completed Thomas had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning). It was our first real finish that we had an opportunity to find out about our Legend Cellars Fusion.” In changing the car over to the Mobile setup, the team found a destroyed bearing in the rear end that required us to change out to our spare rear end. Our spare is good but it’s a spare for a reason.
After the trip back to Mobile it took the team until almost 4 in the morning to change out the rear end and make the necessary setup changes to our Legend Cellars machine to make it ready for MIS. “It was a long night and this weekend was really about the guys that work on our car. They changed just about everything but the steering wheel this weekend trying to make it better and it paid off. We were 6th quick in practice at Mobile and it looked liked we were making progress.” After a poor qualifying effort on Friday night in Pensacola the Moose was on his game for Saturday night but we had freed him up too much to lay down a solid qualifying effort. “After going to sleep on the team during qualifying on Friday I didn’t leave anything on the table on Saturday and our car was a handful. We qualified 14th but I knew we had a better car.” We weren’t spotting anybody anything on Saturday night and the Moose went from the green flag. However, unlike Friday night there were plenty of cautions. The early cautions gave us time to adjust on the Moose’s ride and we were solid and logging laps. The middle section of the race took on a green flag look and the Moose went a lap down to the leader at lap 60. At lap 80 things got ugly. The nicest thing to say here is that the 12 and the 41 got together going into turn 3. It would have been a normal everyday spin for Thomas but the 1 of Mike Garvey was right behind him at full speed and he hit the Moose on the left rear wheel and his car launched itself on to the roof of the Legend Cellars Fusion. Garvey’s car climbed over the roof and down on the dash ripping away the left side of the car. “It was light then it was dark. I really didn’t know what was happening until Garvey’s car slid down off my roof. I went to put the window net down and it was gone, his right front wheel and I were up close and personal.” At the time of the wreck the Moose was in line for the free pass that would have put him back on the lead lap. “It was a really disappointing end to our night and our weekend. My guys worked really hard all weekend, they are the story this week. They changed everything but the steering wheel and we made real progress on our car. We’re back to the Pro car this weekend and we’re wrestling for the belt!”
The Moose and his Legend Cellars Fusion will be back in action this weekend for the rescheduled Lee Fields Memorial 150. The weekend starts with testing on Thursday night followed by 2 nights of racing culminating with the Lee Fields Memorial 150 on Saturday night.
Picture: From Speed51.com the Legend Cellars Fusion post race at Mobile.
BIG GOT MASSIVE, FINAL SUPER DOUBLE
MOOSE NOT YET SUPER HERO
Thomas Praytor 9-19-11: As we close in on the final Super Late Model Double Header of the 2011 season, Thomas is part of a Late Model Digest Story chronicling the struggles of the Pro-Late Model Heavyweights that have moved to the Super Late Model Division this season. Hopefully, this weekend the Legend Cellars machine will fair better. Below is the story.
Pro Late Model graduates not yet becoming Super-heroes
By Jim Carson
Late Model Digest editor
The allure of the Snowball Derby, Five Flags Speedway's annual Super Late Model extravaganza in December, has drawn several Pro Late Model stars up one level in recent years. Johanna Long made such a move in 2008, her PLM title season at the Pensacola half-mile; one year later she enjoyed a Blizzard SLM championship, then last fall she landed in short-track immortality with her postrace poses next to the Snowball trophy.
Unfortunately this year's Super newcomers haven't found the top class on the Gulf Coast quite as alluring, at least not yet.
The 2011 SLM crop increased by one at the Rubber & Specialties 100, as Logan Boyett debuted a car his family purchased earlier this year from Eddie Mercer. He joined fellow Gulf Coasters D.J. VanderLey (the 2010 PLM champ at Five Flags and also Mobile International Speedway), Thomas Praytor and Josh Bragg, plus Oklahoman Kenzie Ruston and second-generation Tennessee star Clay Alexander in the open-engine rookie class.
Ruston, whose car is maintained by Southeast standout Jeff Fultz, posted the best result of anyone in this group by placing sixth in Mobile's most recent Miller Lite 100. At Five Flags the high point has been Alexander's eighth on Memorial Day weekend, a result he matched the next night at Mobile.
On most other occasions, the results have shown the growing pains of these young drivers, who are mostly around college age. Boyett and Alexander were collected in the same lap-15 crash in the last Blizzard race; which Boyett blamed on Donnie Wilson.
"It's just something to get used to it's a different caliber of racing," Boyett said.
Some of these efforts are family-owned operations and involve drivers that have rarely, if ever, won any special PLM shows. That has made the learning curve even steeper for some of the hopefuls.
"It's a little bit of everything, luck, experience, all of it," said Praytor, who acquired his car from Turner Motorsports. "I'm getting used to the car. Me and my dad work really hard on this thing and we're still trying to figure it out. This weekend I feel like we made a lot of progress, even though it doesn't show it. I feel like we have a lot better handle on the car. We learned some more things like what changes to make. I think we needed this year to get acclimated to everything."
The biggest strides have been VanderLey's. He joined Eddie Craig's team, and Craig had a longstanding relationship with Panhandle Motorsports, owned by Johanna's father Donald Long. So the #4 has the support and setup of the Long crowd, notably Mike Williamson and Sammy McMullen. VanderLey has been up front early in some Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship races, including the latest Mobile show where getting in a restart crash took him out of third.
"We've just gotten with a strong team," VanderLey said. "Panhandle they know what they're doing; this isn't their first rodeo. The first weekend out, we were all growing as a team but since then we've just gotten better and better and better. I think we could contend for a win."
MOOSE OFF WEEK CHARLOTTE/SALEM
Thomas Praytor 9-19-11: With a week off, the Moose spent the week working as a crew member with the MODSPACE ARCA team driven by Chad McCumbee. “Really appreciate Jennifer and Andy Belmont letting me stay with them and giving me an opportunity to work with their race team for a week,” offered the Moose. “It was great to take in a full race week with the MODSPACE Team, working in the shop, testing, race prep and then racing at Salem.” Going into Salem the MODSPACE team was the leader for the coveted Bill France Four Crown Award and the level of intensity was ramped up a notch or two. The Bill France Four Crown Award, is bestowed upon the driver who compiles the best average finish on four selected tracks of different categories throughout the season. The 2011 Four Crown tracks were New Jersey Motorsports Park (road course), Michigan International Speedway, the Illinois State Fairgrounds (dirt oval), and Salem (short track). After a grueling short track donnybrook at Salem, McCumbee’s 9th place finish was all he needed to claim the Bill France Four Crown Award. “It was a great week. I learned a lot, not only from the crew but listening and watching Chad work in testing and at the racetrack. Really cool to be there when they wrapped up the Bill France Award. Every time I have an opportunity to work with a team at the next level it always helps our race team.”
No rest for the Moose, he’ll transition from Belmont Racing crew member to the final Super Late Model double header of the 2011 season. Friday night in Pensacola for the Buddy’s Home Furnishings 100 and Saturday night for the Miller Lite 100 at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track.
Pictures- Left, Moose replaces shark fin on Chad McCumbee's MODSPACE Ford at Salem. Right, Moose taking in pre-race activities before the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic.
ANOTHER HEARTBREAKER AT 5 FLAGS FOR THE MOOSE
Thomas Praytor Pensacola 9-9-11: After a week of waiting the Moose rolled his Legend Cellars Fusion on to the craggy old surface that is home to the Snowball Derby for the Allen Turner Azera 100. Christine had been tight all during practice and our Max Force team took a big swing at freeing it up and we went a little too far and the Moose timed in the 11th position. With the drop of the green flag the Moose was too free and looking for a caution to make an adjustment. On lap 22 the caution flew and the team made a quick stop getting the Moose back out in front of everyone that came to pit road. Back under green the Moose was rumbling and worked his way up into the top ten. A long green flag run ensued and the leaders were setting a torrid pace lapping the entire field up to the 6th position. "We were cruising through the field, lapping cars and I thought we had a really good car until, my spotter said the leader was 5 back. I pressed it trying to stay on the lead lap and I had nothing for them," offered the Moose. The caution finally flew again but the Moose was the 2nd car a lap down and did not receive the free pass. Back under green all the cars that were alp down were now scrambling to be in the free pass spot and the race for the free pass was as wild as the race for the lead. The Moose fended off the rest of the lap down cars and with the next caution the Moose was back on the lead lap. After receiving the free pass the Moose brought his Legend Cellars machine to pit road for a final adjustment for the dash to the checkers. On pit road while making the changes, the crew found a flat tire changed it out and sent the Moose back out for the final 20 laps. Under green the Moose was on the move and was tracking down the 6th place car when the 6th place scar spun on his own in front of the Moose blocking the track. An attempt to go high to clear the other car landed the Moose in the outside wall with just 7 laps to go. "The racing was crazy tonight. It seemed like we were 2 and 3 wide all night and the lap cars were just plain stupid. I can't tell you how many cars were torn up tonight because lapped cars were either too stupid to get out of the way or just didn't know any better. A lapped car nearly changed the outcome of the race because they were riding in the middle of the track coming to the checkered flag," said the Moose. "It looked like we were headed to a solid finish when the guy in front of me spun. He was sideways in the track and I was hard in the gas which really only left me the high side and there just wasn't enough room. I'm really proud of my team tonight. We didn't have a good car to start the race but they kept working at it and didn't give up. It's a tough deal to go from having a shot at putting our Legend Cellars Fusion in to the top 5 and ended up not being able to finish. Don't want to leave talking about this race without thanking McGunegill engine for the quick turn around on our motor and giving us some great power to run up front." Our Max Force team has already started working on the Legend Cellars Pro car and the repairs to the Super car are getting close to being ready for the Super Double on September 23rd-24th.
Picture (Top): Special 9-11 sticker for all cars at 5 Flags Speedway
Picture (Bottom): The strut snapped and went into the oil pan
RACE DAY- FINALLY!
Thomas Praytor 9-9-11: After the rush and hustle to get ready for the Lee Fields Memorial 150, to be rained out, this week has been dragging, until. We spent the week continuing to put our Legend Cellars Super car back together and fine tune the Pro Car for the Allen Turner Azera 100 at Pensacola's 5 Flags Speedway tonight. Everything was going to plan until our final check of the car when we found a small water pump leak and the thrashing was on again. Replacing a water pump is a pretty simple operation, finding a Ford high performance water pump in Mobile, Alabama is another operation all together. A little help from our friends and fellow competitors Logan and Lynn Boyett in Pensacola and we picked up a new water pump as we rolled into Pensacola. "Really appreciate Logan and Mr. Lynn helping us out. It just another example of the competition in our garage area. We race like hell against each other on the track but we're there for each other if one us needs something. Mr. Dan (VanderLey) was in our shop this week helping us fine tune our new motor," said the Moose. "I was even giving DJ (VanderLey) tutoring help with his Molecular Biology class earlier this week." (He almost got that out without laughing.) After putting on the new water pump the Moose put his Legend Cellars Fusion through it's paces last night at 5 Flags prepping for tonight's Allen Turner Azera 100. "We took some really old tires to 5 Flags trying to simulate what our car will be doing at lap 100 and we think we made some improvements on our setup. I thought we had a good car until my Dad told me what he wanted to try in practice today and I think he's nuts. But I've noticed the crazier I think he is the faster we go." A quote from Talladega Nights seems appropriate at this point "Ricky you're a driver not a thinker."
Racing at Pensacola's 5 Flags Speedway starts tonight at 7:57.
Picture-New water pump installed and ready to go.
ALL DRESSED UP AND NOWHERE TO GO
LEE FIELDS POSTPONED
Thomas Praytor 9-2-11: Everything was going like clock work, McGunegill worked overtime and then some to have our motor delivered on Thursday morning. Our Max Force team went to work getting it put in and ready for our shot at the Lee Fields Memorial Championship belt then what is known as Tropical Storm 13 stepped in. With a dismal forecast from Dr. Bill Williams and Channel 5's John Nodar, Manager Promoter Rick Crawford made the call all racers hate to hear, cancelled. "I told Mr. Rick (Crawford) if he was scared, just say so, he didn't have to cancel the race! (Crawford was scheduled to race in the Lee Fields Memorial 150) Seriously, it was a great call. I know if we were racing in Texas or North Carolina we would appreciate the track making the call early with a forecast like we have this weekend. Really disappointing though, so much preparation and energy went into making the race this weekend. Can't thank everyone enough for all their hard work, especially the guys at McGunegill. We'll be ready to go when they reschedule and we'll spend this weekend finishing the Legend Cellars Super car and making the changes to our Pro car for next weekend at Pensacola. I hope every body has a safe Labor Day weekend," said the Moose. Next up for the Moose's Legend Cellars Fusion is 100 laps in the Allen Turner Azera 100 on September 9th at Pensacola's 5 Flags Speedway.
STILL PLENTY TO DO, MCGUNEGILL DOES THE IMPOSSIBLE
Thomas Praytor 8-30-11: With our Lee Fields car completely prepared, minus a motor, our team went back to work on our Turner Motorsports Legends Cellars Fusion Super Late Model. The good news on the Super car was that the frame did not receive any damage in the accident that ended our night early in Pensacola. The bad new is, just about every part that bolts on to the chassis was bent, broken or destroyed. Both left front and right front suspensions had to be completely replaced, both fenders, nose and all the right side door bars need to be replaced or repaired. "Normally you beat up one side or the other of the car, this deal got both sides!" offered the Moose. The Super car is not slated for action again until the end of September. September has become the busiest month on the racing calendar with the Lee Fields on the 2nd & 3rd, the Pro car at Pensacola on the 9th and the Super Double on the 23rd-24th. While it is nice to look forward on the schedule our team is anxiously looking North for a crate from Indiana. McGunegill Engine Performance has done the impossible and put together a brand new block and assembled a new motor, in just days in order for the Moose to make the Lee Fields Memorial 150. "You just can't say enough about Mr. DeWayne (McGunegill) and the guys at MEP. They worked all weekend and really went the extra mile or two to make this deal happen," said the Moose. Delivery is set for Thursday morning and our team will adjust to full thrash mode to be ready for move in on Friday afternoon at Mobile International Speedway.
Picture: Turner Motorsports Legend Cellars Fusion under repair
MOOSE'S MOTOR PULLED LEE FIELDS STATUS IN QUESTION
Thomas Praytor 8-22-11: An unfortunate turn on the first night of the Super Double Weekend on Friday night in Pensacola sent the Moose to his Legend Cellars Pro-Late Model for a back up on Saturday night in Mobile. The Saturday night outing in the Pro-Late Model was intended to be a 100-lap test session for Labor Day Weekends Lee Fields Memorial 150. Our Max Force team learned valuable information about the handling on our Legend Cellars Fusion and a cooling issue left the team with concerns about our motor. Back in the shop several test led the team to believe that there was cause to send the motor back to McGunnegill Engines. Back at MEP it took 3 times on the Engine Dyno before the problem showed up. With the final dyno run the heat in the motor opened the crack in the front of the block and the water that we felt like we were losing came pouring out. Now we're asking the impossible from McGunegill, build a new motor and have it back to Mobile in time for the Lee Fields 150. "We had really hoped to just be polishing and shining on our Legend Cellars Fusion heading into Mobile's biggest race of the year but it looks like we'll be thrashing until the last minute. McGunnegill is going to have to work overtime to get our motor turned around and back to us in time for us to have a shot at the belt," offered the Moose. Mobile International Speedway Manager/Promoter Rick Crawford has created a special Championship Belt as the trophy for this year's Lee Fields Memorial 150. The 2 day Labor Day weekend race starts on Friday, September 2nd with qualifying and heat races for the local divisions, features on Saturday night including a 150 laps for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship of Mobile International Speedway the Lee Fields Memorial 150!
Picture: Motor out of Legend Cellars Pro-Late Model
SUPER DOUBLE SUPER DUD FOR THE MOOSE
Thomas Praytor Super Double 8-12/13: Our Max Force Team had high hopes for getting our struggling Super Late Model program on track this weekend with the Super Late Model Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship Double header weekend on the Gulf Coast. Two days of testing our Turner Motorsports Legend Cellars Fusion went well and we probably should have quit there. The Moose was caught up in someone else's mess on Friday night at 5 Flags knocking off the front suspension on both sides of the car. The damage was so extensive the team decided to roll out the Legend Cellars Pro-Late Model for Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway. "We knew going to the Pro we would not be able to be competitive with the Supers but we didn't think we could get the Super in competitive shape in the 12 hours we had from the end of the race in Pensacola until it was time to check back in at MIS. So we decided to use Saturday night as a test session for the Lee Fields Memorial on Labor Day weekend," offered the Moose. Testing means trying some new ideas and our team tried a lot of different things that on a normal Saturday night there isn't time to do." As usual, when you try different things, some worked some didn't and the 100 laps exposed some weakness's that we didn't know we had. It was a little disappointing because our Legend Cellars Fusion wasn't as good at the end of the 100 laps as what we were expecting. The good news is it wasn't Labor Day weekend!" With the clock ticking to the Lee Fields Memorial our Max Force Team is already working on getting our Legend Cellars Fusion ready. "Mr. Rick (Crawford Manager/Promoter MIS) showed us the new trophy for the Lee Fields Memorial, a huge wrestling style Lee Fields Memorial Championship belt at the drivers meeting. We're going to be doing everything we can to have a shot at the title."
Picture: The Moose and his team Friday night in Pensacola. (L-R) Ben Lee, Ty Dalton, Lee Wingard, Steffan McDaniel, Moose and Andrew Vickers.
MOOSE FORCED TO BACK UP FOR MOBILE
Thomas Praytor Super Double 8-12/13: After solid test sessions the Moose had high hopes coming into the Super Double Header weekend. Qualifying was an omen for the evening when the Moose was the first out and was sliding in oil dry from the previous divisions qualifying. Keeping the car pointing forward, the Moose was able to time in better than his previous Super start. "We really had a good car and when I came off of turn 2 oil dry was blowing around the car and my face and the car was sliding into the wall. It took two or three big saw saws on the wheel to keep it from hitting the wall but I was able to keep it forward. We had a decent car for us, but we never really got a chance to show it," said Thomas. The race wasn't much better when the Moose was tangled up in an 8 car pile up coming off of turn 4. "We were racing really hard I was on the outside and they started stacking up in front us I hit the guy in front of me with the left front and that shot me into the wall with the right front." With heavy damage to both front suspensions on our Legend Cellars Ford Fusion, the Moose and our Max Force Team are being forced to use our Pro Late Model as our primary for Saturday night. "We have a really good pro car, but it's not gonna hang with the Supers. We thought about staying home but we haven't missed a race all year. Running the Pro car is not our first choice, but we will use Saturday night as a 100 lap test session for the Lee Fields Memorial."
Picture: The Moose and the Legend Cellars Ford Fusion on the wrecker Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.
MOTOR IN READY FOR TESTING
Thomas Praytor Super Late Model 8-5-11: After a trip to McGunegill Engines in Indianapolis, the Moose and our Max Force team have the Super Motor back in the Legend Cellars Fusion Super Late Model. The team is set to test on Sunday afternoon after taking in the Richest Payday in "Stock" car history on Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway. "Our entire team is looking forward to watching the Bombers and Sportsman get it on Saturday night. They always but on a great show but they are racing for big bucks this week," offered the Moose. "Add in the nuts on the Motorcycles and it should be wild at MIS!" Next up on the Moose's racing calendar is a Super Late Model Double header, starting with the Buddy's Home Furnishings 100 at 5 Flags on Friday night and the Miller Lite 100 on Saturday night in Mobile. "We've really worked hard on fine tuning our Legend Cellars Fusion Super car and we hope our test on Sunday will make us more competitive. We still have a ways to go on the Super car."
Picture: (L) DeWayne McGunegill and the Moose at MEP in Muncie Indiana (R) MEP Super Motor back in Legends Cellar Fusion.
OFF WEEK: MOOSE TO INDY
Thomas Praytor Indianapolis 7-28-11: With an off week in the schedule, the Moose headed to Indianapolis to lend a hand on Grant Enfinger’s Allgaier Motorsports ARCA team as they pursue the 2001 ARCA Series Title. “Working with a national touring team is always a big learning experience for me. Seeing how they do things at the next level gives me an opportunity to bring that back to our race team,” offered the Moose. “I appreciate Grant and the Allgaier’s letting me work with them.” Enfinger finished 9th on Thursday night moving him in to 3rd place in the ARCA standings and just a few points out of 2nd. After a long day at the track the Moose is headed to McGunegill Engines in Muncie, Indiana to pick up our Legend Cellars Super Late Model Motor.
Picture: (L) Enfinger and the Moose at Indy (R) Moose help prepare the Allgaier entry for qualifying.
WILD CARD WEEKEND COULDN'T HAVE BEEN ANY WEIRDER
Thomas Praytor Pcola/Mobile Pro Late Double Header 6/22-23/11: The Moose and our Max Force Team rolled a pair of Legend Cellars Fusions into a Triple Header Weekend with high hopes of returning to Pole form in the Pro-Late Model. A motor timing issue on Friday night cost the Moose a top 10 starting spot. “The timing deal just got by us, we thought we were having problems with the drive train and it was on the other end of the car. Really too bad because our Legend Cellars Fusion was really good and with a little steam under the hood I think we could have had a good run,” offered the Moose. After starting mid-pack the Moose was putting in a solid performance until problems up front on a late race restart. The Moose was the man in the middle and the nose of the Legend Cellars Fusion was crushed against the nose of ARCA driver Hal Martin’s car. The team fixed the Moose up and sent him back out to limp home to a 16th place finish and that was about as normal as the weekend would get.
After an all nighter putting the nose of the car back together and getting our McGunegill tuned properly we rolled a pair of Grill’s into Mobile International Speedway for the Wild Card Twin 50’s. On the track the Moose was rumbling in practice and posted the 3rd best time in practice. That was the last normal thing we did. After rolling the car into the impound area a driver in another class started his car without a driver in it and the throttle hung wide open. The car hurtled through the pits and into the impound area. “I thought the guys were messing with us when they told us what was happening. The car slammed into the car parked outside of us and that car was now sitting inside our passenger window. Unbelievable!” said the Moose. Long story short the team rolled the Legend Cellars machine back to our hauler and started working. The right side of the car had to come off to straighten out the interior sheet metal, door braces and the door. While part of the team worked on the cosmetics another worked on the mechanical. A credit to our team they were able to make all this happen and have the Legend Cellars machine back out in time to qualify. After the impound disaster we thought qualifying would be a breeze-nope, it wouldn’t start. Finally, after we tried just about everything it fired up! The Moose timed in 8th. Wow and we hadn’t even raced yet!
The Moose was rumbling in the first of the Twin 50s when the transmission jumped out of gear, that’s never happened before either. The transmission deal cost the Moose a double handful of spots and we brought the Moose in early to make sure he was ready for the 2nd 50. Under green the Moose was rumbling again when he tangled with another competitor and the pair went sliding down the front stretch. The wreck broke the strut rod on the right front and ended what we hope was the Wildest Weirdest Weekend of the season. “I don’t even know where to start and stop about this past weekend. We have a really great Pro-Late Model program and we got beat up from the time we unloaded it off the trailer in Pensacola until a minor deal on the front stretch put us out of our misery in Mobile. We overcame so many problems this weekend with our Legends Cellars Fusion, really proud of our team and their effort. We’ll regroup and get ready for the Super Double header in a couple of weeks.”
Picture: Wild Card Twin 50’s produces a pair of Grill’s (Grand American Race Car Chassis) for Triple Header weekend.
MOOSE WILD CARD IN TRIPLE HEADER WEEKEND
Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile Triple Header 7-22&23: If this weekends Double-Header wasn't interesting enough-Rick Crawford, MIS Manager/Promoter, turned Saturday nights 100 lap race into the Midwest Cooling Towers Wild Card Twin 50 lap races making this weekend a Triple Header! "Really looking forward to getting back in the Legend Cellars Pro (Late Model) this weekend," offered the Moose. "After Struggling in the Super we tested the Pro at MIS last week and Christine is still cooking. Friday night's Allen Turner (Hyundai) 100 will require a lot of patience not to burn our stuff up and have a good finish. The Wild Card Twin 50's at Mobile are right up my alley, we'll be wide open from the moment they drop the green flag!" Headed into the triple header weekend the Moose is currently 6th in the Championship standings at 5 Flags and 2nd at Mobile. The Moose and his all volunteer Max Force Team are earning their Ironman status as the only single team to compete in every Late Model Race on the Gulf Coast this season.
Picture: Slide from MIS website promoting this weekend's Twin 50s.
OFF WEEK TESTING AHEAD OF LARGEST PAYDAY IN “STOCK” CAR HISTORY
Thomas Praytor Testing 7-14-11: With another off week before a 5 Flags/Mobile Pro-Late Model Doubleheader the Moose took advantage of an open practice night at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track to put his Legend Cellars Pro-Late Model through it’s paces. The last time the Moose was at MIS in a Pro-Late Model he was up front leading laps before a broken shock with 3 to go ended a top 5 run. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 months since we raced the Pro at Mobile. I’ve really been struggling in the Super car and it was fun to be back in the Pro car,” said the Moose. Mobile International Speedway held an open practice session Thursday night before Saturday night’s largest payday in “Stock” car history at MIS with the Bombers and Sportsman battling it out for a huge check. “We’re not racing Saturday night but our team will be there to watch the Days try and defend the bounty and see who’s gonna pick up the big check in the Sportsman race. Plus the Motorcycles are going to be there, we practiced with them on Thursday night and those guys are nuts!”
OFF WEEKS STILL BUSY
Thomas Praytor 7-8-11: The Winged Sprint Cars coming to Mobile International Speedway and Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway this weekend mark the beginning of 3 straight weeks of racing on the Coast and an extended break for the Late Models. After taking the July 4th weekend off our Max Force Team has been back in the shop performing long-term maintenance items highlighted by taking the Super Motor out and sending it to McGunegill Engine. “We have almost 2 months before our Turner Motorsports/Legend Cellars Super Late Model races again and after the cooling problem we had in the last race it just made good sense for McGunegill to take a look at it while we had the time,” offered the Moose. With all of the high powered teams that have invaded the Gulf Coast for the Super and Pro Late Model Races the Moose and his Max Force team have been the only same driver/team combination to compete in every event at Mobile International Speedway and 5 Flags Speedway this season. “We’ve been racing almost non stop since Daytona and this is a nice break. Of course we’ll get the itch again this weekend watching the Sprint cars, those guys are lightning fast.”
DO YOU LIKE YOUR MOOSE
SMOKED OR BOILED?
Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile 6-24/25-11: The Moose rolled his Turner Motorsports Legend Cellars Wine Ride into the 3rd weekend of Super Late Model competition hoping to continue to improve on his Rookie season. Our Max Force team used Thursday nights test to work on a race setup for the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series Print This 100 that would be consistent for the long haul. It bit the Moose on qualifying when on the second lap the car bottomed out hard on the racetrack ruining what would have been a solid qualifying effort. After a fabulous fireworks show the Moose started the race with his own show passing cars quickly moving into the top 20 then the top 15. The Legend Cellars Fusion was a little free during the first segment of the race and the Moose came to pit road for an adjustment. Back under green the Moose was back on the move and passing cars again. With 40 laps to go, forward motion stopped and the Moose started to slide backwards. With 20 to go the Moose went a lap down and our team thought the handling was gone on the car, little did we know. With the drop of the checkered flag the Moose keyed the mic and he could barely talk, see or breath. The dash in the car had separated just in front of the steering wheel and the Moose had been breathing in smoke and exhaust from the engine for 100 laps. “We really had a good car, I don’t know when the fumes started to get to me but I knew with 30 to go my vision started to get blurry and by the end of the race I was relying on my spotter to get me around. I knew something wasn’t right but I wasn’t stopping I was determined to finish,” offered the Moose. The Moose took a trip over to the EMTs for some oxygen and fluids-smoked Moose.
The Moose will be back in action in the Legend Cellars Ford Fusion for a Pro Late Model double header weekend on July 23-24.
Pictures: Top-the crew that made it happen this weekend. Middle left- 5 Flags had an awesome fireworks show. Middle right-the Moose with Ben and Chris Lee. Chris is home from his first year at the Naval academy in Annapolis. Bottom-The team covering up a geyser coming out of the Legend Cellars Fusion cooling system.
More pics on Tommy's facebook page.
For a complete wrap up of the weekendwww.speed51.com
For track coverage of the weekendwww.5flagsspeedway.com and www.mobilespeedway.net