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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

From www.arcaracing.com

Longtime Daytona Visitor Praytor Gets Chance

(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - December 17, 2011) - Thomas Praytor has visited Daytona International Speedway for a decade, but never as a driver in a full-bodied stock car.

 

Praytor will have his chance this afternoon when he tests for Andy Belmont Racing. A crew member for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran Rick Crawford at Daytona in the past, Praytor first attended Daytona with his father, Tommy, and The Outdoor Channel in the early 2000s. Crawford and the elder Praytor are currently working together to bring ARCA to Mobile International Speedway for the first time on March 10, and the younger Praytor is aiming to make his mark in the series as well.

 

"This is just an incredible opportunity," said Thomas Praytor, who is also called The Moose. "It's Daytona! I can't thank Mr. Andy and Mrs. Jennifer Belmont enough for giving me the chance. 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, so getting to make a lap, well, it's just hard to put into words."

 

Said Belmont: "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."

 

Thomas Praytor began his career in the late 1990s, driving go-karts and bandolero cars. He became a track champion in 2003, and was named U.S. Army Rookie of the Year in super stock cars at Mobile in 2006. Praytor was named Rookie of the Year at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. in 2007, and Rookie of the Year at Mobile in late models in 2008.

 

Live timing and scoring coverage of open testing at Daytona is available at ARCARacing.com

 

Link to Story on www.arcaracing.com

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

DERBY DUD

Thomas Praytor 2011 Snowball Derby: When the history book is written on our Max Force Racing efforts at the Snowball Derby we hope this will go down as the worst Derby experience in the history of our race team that dates back to the 90’s. Everything leading up to Derby weekend had been solid and the start of weekend went well and within 24 hours we were loading up a destroyed race car, had withdrawn the other car from the Snowball Derby competition and were headed to Oklahoma. Our Snowflake car was destroyed on the first corner of the first lap when John Bolen decided to take the field 3 wide headed into turn 1. The Moose was actually making 3 wide work but Bolen ran out of talent before he ran out of courage sending the Moose hard into the wall on the driver’s side. Two months of testing prepping and fine tuning gone in less than 10 seconds. “It’s just the kind of weekend you’d like to forget. We’ve had bad weekends before but I hope this past weekend is the worst we’ll ever have on a lot of levels,” offered the Moose. “Our guys worked hard in the shop and it paid off at the racetrack, our Legend Cellars Fusions performed flawlessly without the first mechanical issue. We learned a lot about our racecars over the 3 days, testing with the best in the business will do that. Loading our first Snowball car on the trailer without racing was hard but there will be other Snowballs. My Dad said it several times over the weekend-“It’s a car race, we ain’t curing cancer. It’s important but it’s not the most important thing.” Well for those of you that know my Dad that’s the PG version. Our guys already have a game plan for getting the Pro car back to Grills and we’ll get ready to go again. This one will take a little time to get over.”

 

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

FOR DERBY

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.

Picture: Left-Legend Cellars Pro-Late Model on track. Super car with new body on track. In a nod to old school NASCAR testing the Moose put just an M on his new car with a little letter b for the second car.

 

 

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.

 

 Picture: The Moose giving a ride to fellow Rotarian Gill Craig during the Drive Tech Racing School at

Mobile International Speedway

 

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!!

Click Picture for Link to Video of Moose Getting Trampled in Final Miller Lite 100

 

Thomas Praytor 10-7-11 Pensacola Night of Champions: The Moose will roll his Legend Cellars Fusion into Pensacola ’s 5 Flags Speedway for the final regular season race of the 2011 season. On a rare Saturday start the Night of Champions will close out the points season at 5 Flags with the Moose trying to hang on to a spot in the top 10. “Trying to make every late model race at both tracks in our Legend Cellars Fusion has been a big undertaking for our all volunteer team. We haven’t had the results we were looking for but racing with the guys we’ve been racing with in these big shows has really improved our game,” offered the Moose. “It’s been a busy week we had to put in a new Dubz radiator, build a new hood and rebuild the nose, a lot of work in a short week. We had a solid run going at Pensacola in the Pro car the last time there and we want to close out the season on a strong note.”

 

The Allen Turner 100 is the final race of the regular season and is being billed as a tune up to the 44th Annual Snowball Derby the first weekend in December.

 

For live updates Speed51.com

 

For more Moose www.MaxForceRacing.com

 

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

 

LEE FIELDS 150 MIS FINALE-"WWE Cage Match!"

 

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

Thomas Praytor 9-23-11 Pensacola-Mobile: With a Super Late Model Doubleheader already slated for the weekend, a big week for racing on the Coast got massive when Rick Crawford announced that the ARCA Series presented by Menards will be coming to Mobile International Speedway in 2012. The most versatile driving series in the world will make Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track it’s 2nd stop of the 2012 season after it’s traditional opener at Daytona International Speedway. “I’ve been an ARCA fan for almost as long as I can remember. Dad was the host of ARCA Racing This Week and I spent a lot of weekends in the ARCA garage. Ryan Newman, Andy Belmont, Mark Gibson, Frank Kimmel, Jason Jarrett are my heroes, they were bigger than life. Part of why working on Mr. Andy’s team last week meant so much to me,” offered the Moose. “I think its OK to say now that I was just 12 shooting camera on pit road but that may still get someone in trouble. With our history with the ARCA series we’re already trying to figure out how to become a part of that field.”

 

The not yet Super Hero and his team tested his Turner Motorsports-Legend Cellars Fusion from the opening bell to the final bell last night at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway for the Buddy’s Home Furnishing Blizzard Series 100. “We killed ourselves last night and still have a long way to go to catch the guys who are running up front. There’s not much we didn’t try and the boss has another list for today’s practice,” said Thomas. “We’re making progress but it’s slow and painful.”

 

The final Super Double of the 2011 season starts tonight at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway with the Buddy’s Home Furnishing 100 and rolls to Mobile on Saturday night for the Miller Lite 100 and the conclusion of the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship Series. The Moose in his Rookie season in the Super Late Models is 2nd in the Rookie of the year standings and sits just outside of the top 10 in 12th place out of 43 cars.

 

Picture: Thomas and Jason Jarrett at the ARCA race in Daytona in 2002

 

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

 

Special 9-11 sticker for all cars at 5 Flags 

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.”  

Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile Triple Header 7-22&23: Currently 2nd in the Championship point’s standings at Mobile International Speedway the addition of the Wild Card Twin 50’s for this weekend’s now Triple Header created a new wrinkle for the Moose and our Max Force team. The Twin 50’s will pay double points and problems on Friday night or in the first 50 would end any shot at the title at MIS. As fate would have it, our Legend Cellars Super Late Model motor is out of the Grill chassis we use for the Super car, leaving a nice spot in for our old 604 Pro Motor to fill creating a Back-Up for this weekends triple header. “Our guys have been wide open this week changing the Super (Late Model) into a Pro plus making all the repairs that we needed to the Super,” said the Moose. Repairs were needed from a broken shock and a “brush” with the wall, see in car camera video link to the left. “Our back up car is just that a back up, we don’t want to use but it’s there for us if we need it. The motor in that car was one my Dad used that came with old 10K in 2006. It’s like the Energizer Bunny it keeps on going but it doesn’t rock like our McGunegill motors.” The Triple Header weekend starts tonight with the Allen Turner Tucson 100.

 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.


After a long night in Pensacola the Moose gingerly made his way to Mobile International Speedway for the second night of the Gulf Coast Sunoco Championship twin bill Miller Lite 100. Normally a working crew-member until it’s time to climb behind the wheel we put the Moose on light duty on Saturday afternoon while the team prepared the Legend Cellars Fusion for practice. Unlike Friday during practice when we only have a 2-man team we had a full compliment of crew members allowing the team to test several different setups, including a qualifying setup. A nagging cooling issue turned into a major problem during practice with the cooling system spitting water out of the overflow after each run. The team tried several fixes and loaded the Moose up for qualifying. After a 24th place starting spot on Friday night the Moose put his Legend Cellars Fusion into the 14th spot for the Miller Lite 100. During the warm up laps the temperature gauge started to climb on the Moose’s machine. 10 laps under green the temp spiked and the trickle out of the overflow in practice turned into a geyser and the Moose pulled to pit road to save the motor-boiled Moose. “Really a rough weekend. It’s hard to believe we can be so competitive in the Pro car and struggle so much in the Super. We knew this was going to be a learning year for us but man. Our team worked really hard to get our car ready to go for Saturday while I was visiting with the EMTs on Friday night. The last thing I was thinking about after I climbed out of the car on Friday was racing on Saturday. The team kept a laser focus and got us ready to go, without them we couldn’t have made Mobile,” said the Moose. “I appreciate Mr. Turner and Legend Cellars making it possible for us to do this. We’re getting better we just don’t have the results yet.”

 

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 weekend www.speed51.com

 

For track coverage of the weekend www.5flagsspeedway.com and www.mobilespeedway.net

 

MOOSE PREPPED FOR SUPER DOUBLE WEEKEND

 

 

Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile 5-27-11: The Moose returns to Rookie status in his Turner Motorsports Legends Cellars Fusion Super Late Model this weekend for the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series Print now 100 at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola and the Miller Lite 100 at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track. Dodging raindrops the Moose put the Wine Ride through its paces at Pensacola’s 5 Flags last night prepping for tonight’s start of the double header weekend. “We spent a lot of time last night working on long runs trying to make our car better for the end of the race. Our Legend Cellars Fusion was really solid but we have a long way to go to catch up to the guys that have been doing this for a long time,” offered the Moose. The last Super Late Model double header was filled full of NASCAR drivers and this weekend’s line up is highlighted by Hendrick Motorsports newest developmental driver Chase Elliott. “While we have a ways to go with our program it really is a great learning experience to line up against some of the best racers in the country. I’m looking forward to this weekend and really appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given by Mr. Steve (Turner) and Mr. Ken (Stabler).”

 

MOOSE, BUBBA, LARRY, DEMO DERBY AND A PLANE! A PLANE?

 

 

Thomas Praytor 5 Flags/Mobile June 10-11/2011: Our weekend started out sounding like the front row and parking lot of a Hank Williams Jr. concert with the Moose competing in the Allen Turner 100 at 5 Flags on Friday night, then the team going to Mobile for Bubba Blackwell jumping for “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy” followed by racing and the Pitt’s and Sons Demolition Derby-then it got even weirder!

 

The Moose rolled his Legend Cellars Fusion into 5 Flags Speedway as the defending pole sitter from the opening Allen Turner Elantra 100. As the fastest car on record this season the team had high expectations for round 2 of the Pro Late Models at Pensacola. Testing left our Max Force team feeling good about our racecar but looking for speed in qualifying. The Moose timed in the 8th spot out of 25 cars, a year ago we would have been happy with a top 10, after sitting on the pole 8th was a let down. All of our testing has been working on making a good car at lap 100 so it shouldn’t have come as a big surprise that qualifying was not quite as good as opening night. Out tire selection for Friday night was based on the car starting a little on the tight side and freeing up as the old abrasive surface at 5 Flags wore out the tires. An outside row starting spot meant the Moose was hung out on the opening start and after several laps was finally able to get down in the 12th position. A slightly tight car stayed tight over the first 20 laps and the decision was made to come down pit road. “We were tight and instead of the car freeing up Christine just got tighter. We could have stayed out and finished 15th but you know my crew chief and car owner he’s going for broke,” said the Moose. The problem with coming to pit road is our Legend Cellars Fusion went from 12th to 25th. In the first race the winner had taken up the tail end after having problems and while we were a long way from a win hanging on for 15th just wasn’t going to happen. Several cautions followed and the team was able to adjust try it out and come back in. “The race really fell our way when we needed it to and there were several cautions and a red flag that let us work on the car, try our change and work on it some more. The tough part was picking our way through heavy traffic and keeping the nose clean on our car.” The Allen Turner 100 turned into a marathon with 10 cautions, 2 red flags, 180 laps including cautions and over 2 hours on the racetrack. With an improved car the Moose lap times were half a second faster than the beginning of the race and he was able to scramble back from 25th to an 8th place finish and was looking for more spots when the checkered flag flew. “Our Max Force team did a really good job of making changes to our Legend Cellars Fusion keeping us on the lead lap all night long. A top 10 was a nice recovery but we really were looking for a better race from beginning to end,” offered the Moose.   

 

After loading the Legend Cellars Fusion back in the trailer on Friday night the team loaded up the golf cart for a fun day at Mobile International Speedway on Saturday. Bubba Blackwell was jumping Coca Cola trucks for the taping of “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy” followed by racing and Demolition Derby! After a long stretch of hard racing and working on cars non-stop for the last 6 months it didn’t take much convincing for the team to put their party hats on for Mobile International Speedway. Larry started the day by having a jet car burn up a car full of popcorn, to steal a line from another comedian, “You might be a redneck if…..” Then Bubba Blackwell started jumping Coke trucks. Bubba wasn’t the only one flying around the racetrack. A plane was making loops around the track and must have liked what he saw, he set it down on the backstretch, parked in the parking lot, watched a few jumps and took back off. Making the day’s have you ever moment. Our Max Force team had a good time enjoying some incredible racing, Gerald Wilkerson is still the man. Capping it all of with a Demolition Derby, Redneck Heaven must be really close to Saturday at MIS.

 

The Moose returns in his Legend Cellars Fusion Wine Ride for a Super Late Model Double Header in 2 weeks with the Blizzard Series at 5 Flags and the Miller Lite Series at Mobile International Speedway.

 

Picture: Top L-R Moose and Larry the Cable Guy, Bubba Blackwell and the Plane that dropped in on the speedway.

 

Bottom: The Moose climbing out of his Legend Cellars Fusion after the Allen Turner 100 turned into a marathon.

 

For live coverage of both race www.speed51.com

 

For track coverage www.5flagsspeedway.com and www.mobilespeedway.net

 

For more Moose www.maxforceracing.com

 

More pics are posted on Tommy’s Facebook page

 

MOOSE, BUBBY, LARRY AND A DEMOLITION DERBY

THOMAS PRAYTOR 6-9-11: While a title like-Moose, Bubba, Larry and a Demolition Derby sounds more like the front row and parking lot of Hank Williams Jr. concert, it’s what’s on tap for racing this weekend. It all begins on Friday night as the Moose returns to Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway as the defending Pole sitter for the Allen Turner 100 Pro Late Model Series. After the Legend Cellars Fusion makes a 100 laps at Pensacola the weekend continues at Mobile International Speedway as America’s Daredevil Bubba Blackwell will be jumping his Harley Davidson for the taping of “Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy” on Saturday afternoon. Then Saturday night it’s time for WKRG TV 5 Modified Madness followed by the Pitts & Sons Demolition Derby! Moose, Bubba, Larry and Demolition Derby. “Really looking forward to going back to Pensacola in the Pro car. Our Legend Cellars Fusion was really fast in the opener then rolled a 10 that really put us behind before we ever got started,” offered the Moose. “Then we have Saturday off and the party meter will be in high gear for Mobile. Bubba and Larry then racing capped off by a Demolition Derby that’s not my car-how cool is that?”

Picture: To Celebrate Our Success from the Legend Cellars Fusion first pole of the 2011 Season our Max Force team hung this banner in the shop this week.

For track coverage: www.5flagsspeedway.com & www.mobilespeedway.net

For more Moose  www.maxforceracing.com

 

 
MOOSE HAS LONG MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Thomas Praytor Memorial Day Weekend Double Header 5-27/28-11: In only his 2nd start in a Super Late Model the Moose knew the Memorial Day Weekend double header would be a learning experience, he just didn’t know how painful it would be. Our Max Force team dodged rain drops on Thursday night to squeeze in a little practice when we needed a lot for the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzards Series Papa John’s 100 at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. Friday’s practice went smooth and the team prepped the Legend Cellars Fusion for qualifying, The heat slowed the track speeds down but the Moose qualified close to his time from the first Super weekend and within 2 tenths of the pole. A good run but the car was loose and loose at the beginning at 5 Flags is going to be horrible at the end of 100 laps. The cars are impounded after qualifying and the only adjustments that can be made are air pressure. The team did all they could do with air pressure but it wasn’t enough and when the green flag dropped the Moose was slipping and sliding on lap 1 with a long way to go to lap 100. The Moose hung on for dear life looking for a caution so the team could work on his car. By the time we got the first caution the Moose was 4 laps down. The team went to work and a few more cautions later the Turner Motorsports machine was showing signs of life. With each caution the Moose got the Lucky Dog free pass and by lap 85 the Moose was just 1 lap down looking for another caution to get back on the lead lap with an improved racecar. The caution wouldn’t happen again before the last 10 laps (There are no free passes with 10 to go) and the Moose was trapped a lap down and finished in the 16th position. “We just went too far on freeing our Legend Cellars Fusion up for the race. Really proud of our guys for never giving up, we almost got the final lucky dog we needed to get back on the lead lap but we came up just a little short. We learned a lot at Pensacola and we’ll be back in a month with the Super car,” said Thomas.

After logging a 100 slippery laps at 5 Flags, the Moose was looking forward to the high banks and grip of Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track. After sliding around Pensacola our Legend Cellars Fusion was tight at Mobile. Learning from the previous nights experience, the team went back to the tire impound and traded out the tires originally chosen for a different set. The move paid dividends with the Moose starting in the row behind NASCAR drivers Cale Gale and Johanna Long and ahead of 4 time NASCAR Champion Ron Hornaday. With a solid car the Moose was looking forward to the race, enter Alabama Power. An Alabama Power transformer blew in turn 1 turning out the lights on the racetrack. The amazing part was the huge crowd of fans stayed waiting for the lights to come back on. With the stands full the Moose and DJ VanderLey made their way up to the grandstands to sign autographs and help the fans pass the time while repairs were made.

What was thought to be a quick repair turned into a long repair and Manager/Promoter Rick Crawford brought the field of Super Late Models to the front stretch and let the fans come out of the stands and mingle with the drivers and teams.

Finally at 11:37 the green flag flew on the Miller Lite 100! The field bailed off into turn 1 everyone playing nice on the first lap. On the backstretch one of the cars up front had a motor problem and the field started to bottle neck up and by the time they got to the end of the straight away the Moose was in the middle of a 3 wide sandwich with cars stopping in front of him. “They were slowing up in front of Cale (Gale), he checked up to miss the mess and I tried to keep off him but there just wasn’t anywhere to go, offered the Moose” The contact with the rear of Gale’s car crushed the nose of the Legend Cellars machine and the Moose came to pit road. The team worked furiously to get the hood taped down on the car and open up the air box so the motor could get air to keep from over heating. Time ran out before all the repairs could be made and the Moose returned to the track for the restart. With each lap the water temp rose on our reliable McGunegill Engine Performance power plant. The motor wasn’t getting enough air through the air box and after 10 laps we decided we could never make another 90 and we pulled the Turner Motorsports car behind the wall.

“Just really disappointing. We had a really good car, it was even good with the nose crushed. I needed to make a 100 laps and our guys worked so hard this weekend I wish we could have some better results to show but I feel like we made some progress with me and our Super car.

Next up the Legend Cellars Pro Late Model at Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway on June 10th.

 

For lap by lap coverage of the Memorial Day Weekend Super Late Model races: www.Speed51.com

 

For track coverage: www.5flagsspeedway.com & www.mobilespeedway.net

Pictures: Lots more pics posted on Tommy’s Facebook page.

Starting at the top:

*Our Max Force Team lined up to salute our troops during prerace ceremonies: Hayley, Thomas, Andrew, Chris, Steffan, Ben, Tommy, Julie and Ken Stabler.

*Stabler and the boys prerace at Mobile

*With the delay Mobile’s top 2 Midwest Cooling Towers Pro Late Model drivers, Thomas and DJ VanderLey, take to the stands to sign a few autographs and talk with some of the huge crowd at MIS.

*Down on the front stretch the kids were having a good time seeing the cars up close and talking with the drivers.

*Legend Cellars Fusion post race-we’ve had worse.

 

MOOSE FLYING NAVY FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

 

 

Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile Memorial Day Weekend Double Header: To kick off a huge Memorial Day Weekend of racing, the Moose will wear a special Navy and National Naval Aviation Museum drivers suit at the cradle of Naval Aviation tonight in Pensacola, Florida. “Our troops do so much for us, it’s just a way we can show our appreciation for all they do,” said the Moose. Tonight’s Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series Papa Johns 100 kicks off what could be the biggest weekend of racing on the Gulf Coast. After making 100 laps in Pensacola, the Moose and his Turner Motorsports Legend Cellars Ford Fusion will return to Mobile International Speedway for the Miller Lite 100 to compete in a field of cars led by 4 time NASCAR Champion Ron Hornaday. “We tested Sunday in Mobile and last night at Pensacola and every lap I turn I get a little more comfortable in the Super (Late Model). It’s tough going from being a car to watch in the Pro (Late Model) to a stone cold rookie in the Super. I think my Dad is having the most fun with it. He started me out on some really old tires last night and I spun the tires all the way down the straightaway. He left me out there for a dozen laps or so before he let the team put on some fresher rubber. The lesson and there always is one, you can’t attack the old worn out racing surface of 5 Flags Speedway like you can at Mobile. Fresh rubber and I felt like I could hang with Seal Team 6. Really looking forward to this weekend, you can feel the excitement, the energy of a big race weekend. Really appreciate the opportunity Mr. Steve (Turner) has given me and we’ll have the Snake (Ken Stabler) with us this weekend.”

 

Picture: The Moose the last time he raced with the Navy suit at 5 Flags Speedway L-R Pat Silvernail, Jack Barrow, Doug Knoll, Moose and Geep Phillips.

 

MOOSE PRIMED FOR SUPER WEEKEND

FOUR TIME NASCAR CHAMP RON HORNADAY LEADS NASCAR INSURGENTS THIS WEEKEND

Thomas Praytor Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway/Mobile International Speedway 5-24-11: With the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600, Memorial Day Weekend is a one of the biggest racing weekends of the year nationally, add a pair of Super Late Model races on the Gulf Coast and it gets even bigger. Throw in a handful of NASCAR Truck series drivers led by Ron Hornaday and the weekend hits magnitudenal proportions. Rick Crawford announced yesterday that 4-time NASCAR Champion Ron Hornaday will join his teammate and Mobile native Cale Gale, Johanna Long, Mike Garvey and Grant Enfinger for the Miller Lite 100 on Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway. “As a racer I always want to compete against the best there is, well it doesn’t get much better than Ron Hornaday. Add the other NASCAR drivers to the regional touring teams that are coming to the Coast this weekend and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” offered the Moose. The weekend starts with testing Thursday night at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway for Friday nights Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series Papa Johns 100. After racing Friday night the Moose and our Max Force Team will reset our Turner Motorsports Legends Cellars Ford Fusion for the Miller Lite 100 Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway. “We’ve had some really good Pro (Late Model) cars this year and I hope we can transfer a little of that knowledge over to our Super (Late Model) car this weekend. We tested the Super at Mobile on Sunday and it is definitely different. We’re using the same tire as the Pro car and we worked on making long runs to try and make the tires last 100 laps. We still have a ways to go on the Super car but I’m looking forward to this weekend,” said the Moose. “It’s still kind of hard to believe the opportunity I’ve been given. I’m driving a Turner Motorsports car with sponsorship from football legend Ken Stabler and now I get to race against a NASCAR Champion like Ron Hornaday that’s pretty cool for a guy that started in a borrowed go-kart.”

Picture: The Moose putting the Turner Motorsports Legend Cellars Ford Fusion through it paces during testing at Mobile International Speedway.

For live coverage of the Memorial Day Weekend Super Late Model races: www.Speed51.com

For track coverage:www.5flagsspeedway.com & www.mobilespeedway.net

 

MOOSE LEADS EARLY BROKEN SHOCK SENDS FLYING TO 7TH

Thomas Praytor Mobile 5-14-11: The Moose rolled  into Mobile International Speedway, a Rick Crawford Performance Track looking to settle some unfinished business from 2 weeks ago.

 

After Tommy was rained out at 5 Flags on Friday night the team was ready to get down to business and the Moose led all competitors in practice. “We worked hard in testing on Thursday night on getting a long run feel for our Legend Cellars Wine Fusion and it paid off in practice on Saturday,” said Thomas.

 

After being on the top of the leader board for practice our Max Force team had high expectations of the Moose putting Christine on the pole again. DJ VanderLey had other ideas and put down a phenomenal lap almost breaking his own track record. The Moose qualified 5th

 

A little disappointed with 5th, the dreaded dice roll would but the Moose on the outside of the front row. “The dice roll has really hurt us the last couple of races but this time we were on the other side of the coin,” offered the Moose.

 

Starting on the front row the Moose could sniff the lead and on lap 2 he ducked under Modified track champion Donnie Hamrac off of 2 and took the lead. With clean air for the first time this season the Moose rumbled to a 13 car length lead. “Our car was so good, it was incredible. Every lap I’d add a couple of car lengths my spotter was trying to coach me down to a good pace but I was having too much fun.”

 

A dozen laps later the caution flag flew and the Moose found himself in a hornet’s nest. NASCAR driver Mike Garvey on the outside, previous winner Bubba Pollard behind and track Champion DJ Vanderley next to him. The Moose cleared Garvey in turn 4 and then proceeded to but another 13 car lengths on the field. While the Moose was thundering around the speedway at a blistering pace the hornets were pacing themselves.

 

With the next caution, the 4 cars once again made up the front 2 rows. This time Garvey got a fender under the Moose and Pollard and VanderLey followed while they hung the Moose out to dry.

 

The top 4 cars, Garvey, Pollard, VanderLey and the Moose were now nose to tail and eventually lapped every other car in the field leaving only the top 4 on the lead lap. By lap 90 the Moose had started to loose ground to the top 3. The Moose was paying the price for the big lead early in the race.

 

With 2 laps to go the Moose dove into turn 1 and the shock on the right front of the Legend Cellars Fusion snapped sending the Moose airborne off of turn 2 and sliding backwards into the outside retaining wall 100 yards from the racetrack. “My Dad says anything that flies that far should have a stewardess! I know I got some more MIS frequent flyer miles.”

 

The top 4 cars had lapped so many cars so many times that even with the Moose leaving the race 2 laps early he would finish 7th.

 

“Disappointed we didn’t finish but really a solid night for our race team. We were good off the trailer, led laps all just another notch in moving our program to the next level. Looking forward to taking Dad over to 5 Flags on Friday night and we’ll start testing the Legend Cellars Super car for Memorial Day Weekend. Really appreciate my old high school teammates coming out, AJ McCarron (Quarterback Alabama) and Ryne Baxter (Tight End South Alabama) those guys are incredible athletes and it means a lot to me. We’ve already started working on getting Christine ready to go again,” said Thomas.

 

After being a favorite in the Midwest Cooling Towers Series the Moose returns to Rookie status in the Super Late Model for the Blizzard Series at 5 Flags and the Miller Lite 100 at MIS on Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Picture: Moose taking the lead from Donnie Hamrac. Lots of pics posted on Tommy’s Facebook page.

 

For live coverage of the Memorial Day Weekend Super Late Model races: www.Speed51.com

 

For track coverage:www.5flagsspeedway.com & www.mobilespeedway.net

FROM MIS POST RACE

BATTLE FOR OLD SHELL ROAD WAGED ON-WHILE POLLARD WON THE WAR AT MIS

 

Coming in to the third installment of the Midwest Cooling Towers Pro-Late Model Series a couple of local drivers, Daren “DJ” VanderLey and Thomas “Moose” Praytor, were looking to take their first win of the 2011 season.

 

The UMS-Wright and St. Paul’s graduates compete against each other in everything and especially on the high banks of Mobile International Speedway.

 

Praytor fired the opening salvo in the continuation of the Battle of Old Shell Road becoming the fastest car in practice.

 

VanderLey fired back in qualifying by taking the pole and nearly breaking his own track record.

 

For the race, Praytor called in a couple of his high school football team mates, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and South Alabama tight end Ryne Baxter for back up. On lap 2 Praytor took the lead and distance himself by 8 car lengths on the field. Advantage Praytor.

 

Praytor played rabbit, reigning track champion VanderLey took on the role of the fox, saving his equipment for the end.

 

While the Mobile pair were looking for an advantage, a couple of out of towner’s, NASCAR driver, Mike Garvey and previous winner, Bubba Pollard were planning on spoiling the all Old Shell Road party.

 

Praytor held off the field for the first part of the race until Garvey got the advantage on a restart.

 

After the restart shuffle, Garvey, Pollard, VanderLey and Praytor lined up nose to tail and started sizing each other up for the final laps while setting sail on the rest of the field.

 

With 2 laps to go Praytor broke a shock on the right front of his machine sending him on a wild airborne ride off of turn 2.

 

On the final restart Pollard and VanderLey mounted charges against Garvey but came up short.

 

Garvey crossed the line first but post race inspection found illegal engine components on Garvey’s machine handing the win to Pollard.

 

It was Pollard’s second win of the night after taking home the Alabama Pipe and Supply Modifieds’ checkered flag earlier.

 

Pollard’s win marked his fifth of the season and notching his 11th top five finish in just 15 starts.

 

For VanderLey and Praytor the Battle of Old Shell Road will continue in the Miller Lite Super Late Model 100 on Memorial Day weekend at Mobile International Speedway.

 

Midwest Cooling Towers Pro Late Model Results — 1. Bubba Pollard, 2. D.J. Vanderley, 3. Donnie Hamrac, 4. Clifford Darby, 5. Kyle Bryant, 6. Michael Pitts, 7. Thomas Praytor, 8. Elliott Massey, 9. David Jones, 10. Josh Bragg, 11. Kris Kahalley, DQ. Mike Garvey

FROM MIS PRE-RACE

BATTLE FOR OLD SHELL ROAD SPILLS OVER TO MIS

The UMS Wright –St. Paul’s rivalry is one of the most intense and storied in all of high school athletics, nobody knows that better than Daren “DJ” VanderLey and Thomas “Moose” Praytor.

 

UMS and St. Paul’s are located down the street from each other on Old Shell Road, both have traditions of excellence in athletics and for the last two Pro-Late Model races on the Gulf Coast the front row, VanderLey-Praytor, was an all Old Shell Road affair.

 

VanderLey, 19, and Praytor, 21, have known each other since the pair raced Legends at Sunny South Raceway in Grand Bay.

 

An instant friendship was struck, bonding over all things racing and the uniqueness of each having twin sisters. Both athletes in their own right, Thomas’ sister, Hayley, plays softball at Huntingdon College and D.J.’s sister, Dana, plays softball at West Point.

 

“Thomas and I have had this old rivalry,” VanderLey said. “It runs deep. It’s part of our competitive nature.”

 

“We like to mess around with each other,” Praytor said.

 

But their friendship is put on the backburner when talking about UMS versus St. Paul’s.

 

“It’s definitely the biggest game of the year,” said Praytor, who owns a State Championship ring as a member of St. Paul’s 2007 football team. “You beat UMS, it’s a big deal. D.J. and I love to have bragging rights over each other. It’s not just in football, but in everything.”

 

Now graduates, the battle for bragging rights between VanderLey and Praytor continues at MIS.

 

“DJ won everything last year. I mean everything, poles, races and both championships. He had the bragging rights all year, we’ve been working hard to get some back,” said Praytor. 

 

 

Both look to make their first trip to Victory lane in 2011 on Saturday night.

 

“We’ve come so close many, many times,” said VanderLey, the reigning Pro Late Model Champion at both MIS and Five Flags Speedway. “If we keep putting ourselves up front and racing smart and racing smooth and saving all of our stuff, the win will come.”

 

Praytor, who won the pole at Five Flags, credits getting sound advice from Augie Grill. Grill, owns Grand American Race Cars (GARC) and was back-to-back Snowball Derby Champion in 2007 and 2008. Both driver have GARC cars supplied by NASCAR Nationwide and Camping world Truck Series team owner Steve Turner.

 

 “Last year was such a terrible year for us. It couldn’t get much worse. But so far this year our luck has been better, knock on wood. I don’t wanna jinx anything,” said Praytor

 

The Alabama Pipe and Supply Modifieds, Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman and Island Motor II Bombers will also get in on the fun when the grandstands open at 5 p.m. Saturday on “Ride Along Night.” Kids will get a chance to ride with their favorite Bomber or Sportsman driver, or they can ride in the pacecar with MIS manager and promoter Rick Crawford

 

Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for military, seniors and policemen, $5 for children 6 to 11 and ages 5-and-under are free when accompanied by adult. Pit passes are $25 with the pit gate opening at 1 p.m.

 

Midwest Cooling Towers Pro Late Models Top 5 — 1. D.J. Vanderley 118.00, 2. Mike Garvey 99.00, 3. Thomas Praytor 95.00, 4. Josh Bragg 87.00, 5. David Jones 82.00

 

 

MOOSE STARTS ON THE FRONT ROW PUSHES TO 8TH

 

 

Thomas Praytor Mobile, AL 4-30-11: Coming off a pole in Pensacola the Moose had a little extra swagger in his step as he returned to the friendly confines of Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track for Round 2 of the Midwest Cooling Tower 100 lap series. Off the trailer the Moose’s Legend Cellars Fusion was solid and with an early qualifying draw the team prepped for qualifying. The third car out, the Moose set the fast time for the provisional pole and then had to wait for each competitor take their swing at him. One by one they got close but couldn’t top the Moose’s time and then in almost an instant replay from Pensacola, the next to the last car, the man he had beaten for the pole in Pensacola, DJ Vanderley took the top spot by 4 one hundreths of a second. “Really happy for our team, they have been working really hard on getting our Legend Cellars Fusion up front and having back to back front row starts is a big statement for our race team,” said the Moose. For 2 straight weeks the front row would be Praytor and VanderLey as the battle of Old Shell Road continues between the UMS and St. Paul’s graduates. This week VanderLey had a crew-member roll the dice and he did better than the Moose the week before but not by much, it would be an 8 car invert. The Chief Executive Officer of Midwest Cooling Towers, Juanita Wiltz got the party started by waving the green flag. The Moose worked his way up to 4th by the halfway point. Christine started a little tight and after the halfway point she started to get really tight. By lap 80 tight had turned into pushing like a dump truck and the Moose slid back to an 8th place finish. “Disappointed in the finish but we keep working on making our stuff last 100 laps. Really appreciate all the support we’ve gotten this year, next time we’ll have the Snake back at the track with us and maybe we can have a better finish,” said Thomas.

 

The Moose will be back in action on May 14th for round 3 of the Midwest Cooling Towers at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track.

 

Picture: Moose with crew pre-race, Ben Lee, Andrew Vickers and Steffan McDaniel.

 

For More MIS: www.mobilespeedway.net

 

MOOSE PRIMED FOR SATURDAY NIGHT

 

 

Thomas Praytor Mobile, AL 4-29-11: Coming off a top 5 at MIS and a pole at 5 Flags the Moose tested the high banks of Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track on Thursday night. “We made some changes in the shop since the first Midwest Cooling Towers 100 and they are really paying off on the racetrack,” offered the Moose. “We worked on making our Legend Cellars Fusion driveable over 100 laps not just the first couple. Every time we finish a 100 lap race we’re learning more to make our cars better over the long run. Thursday night was one of the best cars we’ve had and we’re really looking forward to Saturday night.” The Chief Executive Officer of Midwest Cooling Towers, Juanita Wiltz, is slated to drop the green flag on a competitive field of Pro-Late Models on Saturday with drivers coming from across the southeast led by the Winner of the Miller Lite 100, Senoia, Georgia’s Bubba Pollard, David Jones, the opening night winner at MIS and the defending Champion DJ Vanderley.

 

For more on MIS: www.mobilespeedway.net

 

MOOSE TAKES ALLEN TURNER HYUNDAI POLE AT 5 FLAGS

 Thomas Praytor Pensacola 4-23-11: After a top 5 finish in the Mobile opener, the Moose and his Legend Cellars Wine team was looking forward to the Allen Turner Hyundai Elantra 100 opener at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway. With both tracks only racing 100 lap events, each race is drawing Snowball Derby quality teams from across the Southeast and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma. Friday’s season opener for the Pro-Late Models turned into an early preview of what this year’s Allen Turner Snowflake will look like. With all of the high dollars teams, paid crews and 18-wheeler haulers rolling into the Speedway on Friday, Thomas with a crew of his Mom and Dad took our spot on the front straight away. A morning practice had both the Moose and Dad in a fowl mood for lunch, the car looked and felt good on the track but it was just slow. When the rest of the cars hit the track after lunch we felt a little better after Mom had a chance to time the other cars to find out the track was slower than the Derby. Our old used tires held up pretty well against the big teams new tires and the Moose was 6th quick on the practice chart. A qualifying draw at the back of the field gave us a good opportunity to see what kind of times we were up against. Last years champion and winner of every pole at 5 Flags, DJ VanderLey along with his Mom and Dad team set the bar early with a 17.07 second lap. The rest of the high dollar teams would swing and miss at VanderLey until the Moose. The Moose first lap 17.40 really did not show the speed of a pole car but the car looked good on the track and the Moose put the whip to Christine for lap 2, 17.06 seconds. A few more competitors behind him and the Moose had his first 100-lap pole. “Just really cool. Our team has been working hard and we have a lot of things going our way, sponsorship from Ken Stabler’s Legend Cellars Wine and now a pole in the Pro Opener at 5 Flags,” said Thomas. With the pole comes the dice role. The person with the fast time throws a dice to decide how many cars are going to be inverted to start the race. Most dice only go as high as 6 but the racetrack’s dice start at 6 and go to 10. Of course the Moose doesn’t do anything small, he would start 10 cars back.

 With a clean start the Moose settled in to log some laps. An uneventful race got interesting fast as the Moose found himself sliding to the wall in Hunter Robbins rear end oil. The Moose gathered up the Legend Cellars Fusion before it hit the wall but lost a ton of track position. At the back of the pack we brought the Moose down pit road to check Christine over to make sure there was nothing mechanically wrong. Now at the tail end of the 24 car field the Moose was in a full charge to get back to the front. As fast as the Moose could get to the next car they went by the wayside as he rumbled his way all the way back up to 7th. Back in the top 10 just past the halfway mark things were starting to look better. However, a string of 4 or 5 cautions with the Moose on the outside line for each one cost the Moose a couple of spots each time and valuable rubber in a 4 tire race. Back to 12th the Moose tangled with another competitor, the first time the Moose was on the short end of the stick, the second time didn’t go so good for the other guy. Under caution he hit the Moose in the back lifted him off the ground and spun him around. What tires were left were now officially gone and the Moose settled for a 15th place finish. “We didn’t get the finish we wanted but what a great night. Not only did we get the pole but we showed we could race too. I don’t know how many cars we passed but it seemed liked I heard my spotter say inside-outside at the same time a lot. Really looking forward to Mobile this weekend.”

 The Moose and his Legend Cellar Pro-Late Model will be back in action this weekend in the Midwest Cooling Towers 100 at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track, www.mobilespeedway.net

MOOSE LEADS LATE HANGS ON FOR 4TH

 

Thomas Praytor Mobile 4-9-11: After a rookie experience in the Miller Lite Super Late Model two weeks ago the Moose was looking forward to the friendly feel of his Legend Cellars Pro-Late Model “Christine”. The Moose qualified 5th, serving notice that the goal this weekend was not to just make 100 laps but to race up front and contend for the win. With the drop of the green flag the Moose quickly settled into the top 5 and started logging laps. This years 100 lap races don’t allow tire changes so the 4 tires you start with are the 4 tires you have to finish with, tire conservation is important. The first 40 laps were uneventful until a spin brought the first caution. “We were just making laps the first 40 laps. Our Legend Cellars Fusion was pretty good but it was starting to get a little tight off the corner. After the caution it was a lot tighter and by the time we got to lap 70 I was in trouble,” offered Thomas. After the first caution the Moose kept pace but he was now using up too much of his car to make it happen. On lap 76 the Moose was racing on the outside groove in 3 and 4 when he ran out of real estate coming off turn 4. A hard left turn to stay off the wall sent the Moose on a sideways slide down the front stretch. Fortunately Christine didn’t hit anything and we were able to stay in the race. The Moose was in the race but hanging on was an understatement. Not only was his car used up, it now had flat spotted tires-4 tire race meant there would be no changing tires and the Moose would be doing his Fred Flinstone imitation for the closing laps. With less than 30 to go, the field was getting racey and we didn’t have anything left to race with. Since we were at the back, we decided to give the front of the field a little room and just bring home a whole racecar make it better and come back again. It didn’t take long for that move to pay off as the cautions came often. After a few cautions the Moose had a chance to cool his tires and we started counting the cars we felt we better than. Our strategy changed from bring it home to lets get back in there and try to get a top 5. On lap 96 the Moose was up to 4th and the field took the green flag, the front row started wrecking off of 4. The Moose made a nice move to the outside, kept the hammer down as the carnage ensued behind him. New leader, the Moose. We had gone from just finishing, to running in the top 5, to the leader. While we didn’t have anything left David Jones and DJ VanderLey did. Both had survived the wreck fest but because they had problems were behind the Moose. Holding them off for 4 laps was going to be tough. Green flag, Moose held his own but his car was junk, caution. Restart # 2 Moose holds his own again but now his car is really junk, caution. Restart #3 Moose holds his own but Jones and VanderLey have seen the Moose’s doesn’t have anything left and they get by with Jones going on to win. “All we ever ask for is a chance to win and we were in the right spot but we just didn’t have anything left. Congratulations to Mr. David (Jones) big win for them, really proud of our team everyone has had to step up their game going form a Saturday night team to 100-lap team. We’ve been 40 lap racing for a long time and making our cars last 100 is tough, we’re gaining on it. I’m looking forward to taking Christine to Pensacola in a couple of weeks.”

 

Picture: Moose behind the Mobile International Speedway pace car and the leader board with the Moose first on lap 96. Note: There was a heavy dew in the air and the spotter was lobbying track officials hard that it was a torrential downpour and the race needed to be halted.

 MOOSE LOCKED AND LOADED FOR PRO OPENER


Thomas Praytor Mobile 4-6-11:
While last weekend was an “off” weekend for racing on the coast the Moose was testing with his Legend Cellars Wine Fusion at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track. After being the new kid on the block with the Super Late Model the weekend before the Moose was on familiar ground with the Pro car nicknamed “Christine” at MIS. Christine and the Moose go to together like peas and carrots and the pair picked up where they left off from the double track practice a few weeks ago. “Our goal 2 weeks ago in the Super was to make laps and gain some experience, this weekend we still need the laps but our sights are set a little higher. We think our Legend Cellars Ford is good, we still have a few question about the new tire but we’re ready for the weekend,” said the Moose. “The most important thing about this weekend is preparing for Labor Day Weekends Lee Fields Memorial and having a shot to win the Belt!” MIS Manager/Promoter Rick Crawford has announced this years winner of the Lee Fields Memorial will win a custom made Lee Fields Championship Wrestling Belt. The bell rings for round one of the Midwest Cooling Towers 5 round series that will culminate with the Lee Fields Memorial on Labor Day Weekend.

Picture: Legend Cellars Wine Ford Fusion on track at Mobile International Speedway.

For the latest news from MIS join the Speed Club at www.mobilespeedway.net


MOOSE EARNS ROOKIE STRIPES

 

Thomas Praytor Pensacola/Mobile 3-25&26-11: With sponsorship from Ken Stabler’s Legend Cellars Wine, the Moose made his first Super Late Model starts with a double header weekend starting with the Buddy’s Home Furnishing 100 at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway followed by the Miller Lite 100 at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track. The Moose got tangled up in other people’s mess and was out early in Pensacola. An all nighter by the team got the Legend Cellars Wine Fusion to MIS on Saturday where the Moose made the distance and finished 13th. Complete stories for each track below. For more www.MaxForceRacing.com .

 

 

Pensaocla: After a whirlwind week of testing and the announcement of new sponsor Ken Stabler’s Legend Cellars Wine the Moose was looking forward to a little seat time behind the wheel of his Turner Motorsports Ford Fusion. Thursday testing at 5 Flags was frustrating as the tired old surface worked a number on the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Super Late Model rookie. A little more practice on race day and a couple of trips through tech man Ricky Brooks “Room of Doom” still left our team looking for the right package for the Moose. “We really struggled in practice but we didn’t give up we kept throwing setups and laps at our Wine Ride and like a fine wine it kept getting better with time,” said Thomas. The Moose timed in the 18th spot next to a couple of Pensacola Icons, Scott Carlson on the inside and Wayne Neidecken Jr. behind him. The field got off to a clean start and the Moose’s car in race trim was much better than qualifying but the conga line to the front was long and the race was early. The Moose dodge a couple of wrecks and then on lap 35 a couple of cars spun in front of the Moose. With the track nearly blocked the Moose ducked to the right but ran out of room slapping the outside retaining wall. “Really disappointing, so many people worked so hard to get us here it’s just really disappointing.” The wreck destroyed the right front suspension and sent our team scrambling to get ready for Saturday night. Without the convenience of a back up car the team worked until the sun came up and then went back at it after a few hours of sleep. Nothing was going to keep our team from opening night at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track.

 

 

Mobile: What looked bad at the track was worse at the shop. Our team dug in and started working on getting the Wine Ride back together. Fortunately our team is prepared with spares already at their prescribed lengths and dimensions. The real issue was the upper control arm mounting bracket. The bracket is a critical piece of suspension and was bent at a 45-degree angle. While one part of the team worked on the right front suspension another went to work on the body parts, another worked on the rest of the car that needed to be changed for Mobile. We rolled in to MIS a little late and a little banged up but with a solid chassis. Our first job in practice was to make sure we had all of our pieces back together. A few hard laps and the Moose uncorked his Wine Ride. After a solid test the team struggled to get a handle at MIS. The Moose timed into the 15th spot matching his best time from Sunday’s test, behind Josh Hamner and in front of Pro-Late Model Champion DJ Vanderley. With the drop of the green flag the Moose settled in behind Hamner, Kyle Busch’s development driver TJ Reid and pole sitter ARCA driver Grant Enfinger. The race took on a green flag look and went 97 laps before the first caution. While the Moose was giving 100%, the handling on his car wasn’t. Our rookie team could have used a couple of cautions to adjust on the car but on Saturday night that wasn’t meant to be and the Moose finished 13th. “I just really couldn’t be prouder of our team. They worked from the moment the car hit the ground off the wrecker until we loaded it up for the Speedway. Then to match our mock qualifying run from testing is a real testament to how good they are,” offered Thomas. “I really appreciate Turner Motorsports giving me this opportunity and to have the Snake with the Moose is really cool. Mr. Ken (Stabler) spent a lot of time with our race team this weekend, if we were on the track he was in the pits. He’s a quick study and he’s already picking up on what we’re doing to our Legend Cellars Fusion. While he’s learning about racing we’re learning from him about being on a great team, a winner is a winner. Our goal was to have all 4 corners on the car and make 200 laps. Well we have 3 corners and 135 laps. I would say our results give us a D+-C- weekend but the results really don’t reflect the effort our team put in. In 2 weeks we’ll be back at Mobile with Christine, (Pro-Late Model) there’s no rookie stripes on Christine and we’re not looking to log laps. Congratulations to Mr. Rick (Crawford new Manager/Promoter at Mobile International Speedway.) on a big opening night. The fans were having a great time and I’m looking forward to seeing them back in 2 weeks.”

 

Pictures

Top: While the Moose is a rookie in the Super Late Models he’s well known at Pensacola’s 5 Flags speedway and was busy signing autographs before the Buddy’ Home Furnishings 100.

 

Bottom:  The Wine Ride on the starting grid at Mobile International Speedway. The new paint scheme looked like one of Stabler’s football helmets with a few “character” lines from the front stretch wall at 5 Flags.

 

We have lots of pictures from opening weekend we’ll be posting on the web site and facebook later in the week. www.MaxForceRacing.com

 

 

2011 SEASON READY FOR LIFT OFF!

 


Thomas Praytor Pensacola 3-25-11:
A fresh new Ken Stabler Legends Cellar wine label installed on our Turner Motorsports hood and a night of practice at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway has the Moose and our Max Force Team ready to rumble. The Moose put his Wine Ride through it’s paces last night during testing for the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series 100 at Pensacola. The tough old abrasive surface put the Moose to the test; “Our Legend Cellars Fusion was solid off the trailer, really a credit to our race team and a quality racecar from Turner Motorsports. The Super car make look the same but it’s different, it’s fun, it’s a handful and I’m having a blast! I can’t wait for the green flag,” offered Thomas. Both Mobile and Pensacola open their 2011 season this weekend with the Blizzard Series tonight at 5 Flags and the Miller Lite 100 tomorrow night at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track. Live up dates can be found all weekend at
www.speed51.com.

 

 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  March 23, 2011

 KEN STABLER’S LEGEND CELLARS TO SPONSOR THE MOOSE

TODAY- Super Bowl and NCAA football champion Ken Stabler, president of Legend Cellars, announced that Legend Cellars will partner with and sponsor Thomas “Moose”  Praytor’s Max Force Race team in 2011. The “12” Championship Collection Wine label complete with a snake and championship ring will appear on Moose’s Ford Fusion with the Legend Cellars Crest.  “Our wine is all about celebrating great teams and success, the Moose and his team embody that idea,” said Stabler.

In addition to carrying the Legend Cellars Wine colors the Moose’s number will change from 28 to Stabler’s iconic #12. Along with the number change, Moose’s Yellow trim will be changed to Crimson and White. “Mr. Ken is a legend and to have him entrust promoting his new Legend Cellars Wine with our race team is a real honor. Mr. Ken has been to the shop and to the track with our race team, it may have been a while since he competed on the field but he still knows how to inspire teammates and you can see our guys get a lift when he’s with us,” offered the Moose.

The Wine ride will race this weekend at the opener of the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship. The series starts Friday, March 25th at Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway and continues on Saturday night, March 26th, at Mobile International Speedway, a Rick Crawford Performance Track with the Miller Lite 100.

Moose has announced a 22 – race schedule along the Gulf Coast. “I’ve been watching Thomas race since he was at Sunny South Speedway in a Bandolero, his determination and commitment to racing is incredible. I’m pumped up to be a part of his effort as he moves up to the next level,” said Stabler. 

Legend Cellars Wine: Stabler’s Legend Cellars partnered with Anderson Estate Wines of Santiago Chile to produce the “12” Championship Collection. The “12” Championship Collection consist of five expressive world-class wines. The tag line, “Celebrate your success,” alluding to Stabler’s winning career can be found on each bottle. A portion of the sales will benefit the XOXO Stabler Foundation, which supports such charities as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Mulherin Custodial Home for special-needs children in Mobile, and Mobile's Camp Rap-A-Hope, a summer camp for children with cancer.

Thomas “Moose” Praytor: Starting with a borrowed Go-Kart the Moose and his Max Force Race Team have parlayed that small beginning to become a Track champion, a State Champion and a 3-time US Army Rookie of the Year. The Moose earned his nickname from one of his first sponsors, the Outdoor Channel. The Moose’s Outdoor Channel Bandolero featured a large Moose coming out of the wheel well, his name on the roof was changed to Thomoose and now is simply “Moose.” The Moose will be attempting to win US Army Rookie of the Year honors again in 2011, as he makes his first Super Late Model start. For more Moose: www.MaxForceRacing.com

ABOUT KEN STABLER: As quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ken “Snake” Stabler was a member of the 1965 national championship team. He went on to enjoy a successful career in the NFL, playing for the Oakland Raiders from 1968-1979. Stabler led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl championship in 1977, had the most victories as a Raiders QB (71), played in three Pro Bowls, was the 1974 NFL MVP, and was voted the NFL Player of the Year in 1976. He played for the Houston Oilers in 1980-1981 and the New Orleans Saints from 1982-1984.

 For more information:

Kim Ross Bush
251-975-7113

legendcellars@aol.com

 

 

SUPER PUTS MOOSE TO THE TEST

Thomas Praytor 3-20-11: With less than a week before opening weekend the Moose rolled out his Turner Motorsports Super Late Model for a day of testing at Mobile International Speedway. The learning curve for our driver and our team in going from a Pro-Late Model to a Super Late Model is much like going from the Nationwide Series to the Sprint Cup Series. The cars are different, faster and the level of competition is stiffer. “Going to the next level is always exciting and demanding. All the preparation, all the laps we’ve turned would come into play but nothing beats being in the seat,” said Thomas. Driving a Super Late Model will make the 7th class of car the Moose has driven at the ripe old age of 21. The Moose showed his rookie stripes early but not for long as the team was soon scrambling trying to keep up with the Moose’s progress. As expected with any new car there were a few gremlins but they were minimal as the Moose pounded the high banks of the MIS racing surface for close to 100 laps over the 6 hours test. “Our team did a great job, they gave me a solid car and we made it better as the test went on. Our new McGunigell engine performed flawlessly. I didn’t go as fast as I wanted to but I have to keep reminding myself that this was my first day. I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” offered the Moose. Testing is scheduled for Thursday night at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway with the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship Season starting on Friday with the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard series at 5 Flags and the Miller Lite 100 at Mobile International Speedway a Rick Crawford Performance Track on Saturday night.

 

MOOSE WOWS AT DOUBLE DUTY PRACTICE

Thomas Praytor 3-12-11 Pensacola/Mobile: No stranger to double duty weekends the Moose and our Max Force team tested our limits by testing at both tracks in one day. While our resources were stretched for double duty the Moose came ready to rumble. Off the trailer the Moose was on his game and picked up where he left off in December when a brake issue sidelined the Moose while he was charging to the front. With new brakes the Moose was rumbling and backed up his qualifying effort from the Derby. A quick trip back to Mobile and the team unloaded, made the changes to our G-Force Ford Fusion and the Moose dropped the hammer. “They say we were the fastest car at both tracks today and we’re proud of that but that’s not what we’re after. Today’s fast times are really a testament to our chassis builder, (GARC) our motor guys (McGunegill) and all the companies that supply the pieces that make up our G-Force Fusion. We made very few changes at the track today and that’s a testament to our team. The preparation our guys put in is incredible. We’re going to take Sunday morning off then we’ll be back in the shop Sunday afternoon getting the Super car ready to practice.” Next up for the Moose, Super Late Model testing at Mobile International Speedway on Sunday.
 

MOOSE CRUISING THE COAST IN 2011

MISLOGO

Thomas Praytor 3-11-11: Open practice this weekend at Mobile International Speedway and Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway signal the official beginning of the 2011 racing season. While most teams are picking one track to practice at this weekend the Moose will be doing double duty, 5 Flags in the morning/afternoon then MIS in the afternoon/night. While it will be a long day, it gives our team a chance to practice the Two Step Tango (race at 5 Flags on Friday night change the setup and race at MIS on Saturday night) we’ll be performing on doubleheader weekends. “This weekend we’ll test Christine (Pro Late Model) with both the Pro and Super setup. We’re still putting the finishing touches on the new Super Car and we’ll test it next weekend. Normally we would just be knocking the rust off but both tracks have changed the tire compound we’re using in 2011. We’ll have some work to do to get a handle on the new tire but we think the new tire is a better compound and should be better for our G-Force Fusion over the long 100 laps races,” said Thomas. Testing begins at 9:00 AM at 5 Flags and ends at 9:00PM at MIS.

 

We've also attached our 2011 Mobile/Pensacola racing schedule. With a Pro and Super Late Model the Moose will be Cruising the Coast for a total of 22-100 lap races at 5 Flags and MIS. We're also letting Fatboy take a turn in the Super Stock in May at 5 Flags. A multi-time winner of the US Army Rookie of the Year title at both tracks, the Moose will be attempting to win it twice in one year in the Miller Lite Super Late Model Division.  Hang on we're turning the Moose LOOSE!   

 

NEW SUPER MOTOR IN THE SHOP

2011 SEASON AROUND THE CORNER


Thomas Praytor 3-7-11:
Just a little late for the Moose’s Birthday, McGunegill Engine Performance delivered a new Super Late Model motor for our Turner Motorsport Super Late Model. Our team has already been hard at work installing the beefed up horsepower into the GARC chassis. Super motors have a remote oil tank and remote oil cooler built into the radiator that require braided steel line or plumbing to be run to each component. Plumbing the car is time consuming but our team complete with butt cracks are plumbing as fast as we can go.  Thomas; “You can feel the excitement in our shop, a great car from Mr. Turner and a new motor really has everybody pumped up. Congratulations to Turner Motorsports on their first NASCAR win this weekend with Mark Martin in Las Vegas. Not only did they win this weekend, Reed Sorenson is leading the Nationwide points in a Turner car. Speaking of big weekends congratulations to Grant Enfinger on winning his second Rattler 250. For a guy who doesn’t like snakes he sure likes winning the snake race.” Along with installing the Super Motor our team is getting ready for double duty testing this weekend in the G-Force Pro Late Model. Pensacola 5 Flags Speedway in the morning/afternoon and Mobile International Speedway in the afternoon/evening.

 

BANQUETS KICK OFF 2011 RACING SEASON


Thomas Praytor Mobile-Pensacola Awards Banquets: Unlike NASCAR the local racetracks held their awards banquets in January as a way to light the fuse for the 2011 racing season. The Moose was one of only 2 drivers to campaign the same car into the top 10 in the Championship standings at both racetracks. “We had a decent year but we were a long way away from what we were looking for. Congratulations to DJ (Vanderley) he absolutely dominated our division last year. I think we took a weekend off before Christmas but we’ve been hard at work in the race shop getting ready for this year,” said Thomas. “We’ve been working on bringing the Super Late Model back to life and that’s going to be a big learning curve for me but I’m really looking forward to it.” The tracks in the Southeast have released their schedules and we are working on overlaying the dates to produce our 2011 schedule. Next up is Media Day at Daytona International Speedway followed by Speedweeks at the World Center of Speed.
Picture: The Moose with Mobile International Speedway owner Ida Fields at the Pensacola 5 flags Speedway Banquet.

MOOSE-DANICA

Thomas Praytor Mobile, Alabama 1-15-11: Two of the sexiest drivers in motorsports took time out for a picture at the Go Daddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Of course this is not that picture, this picture is of one of the sexiest drivers, Danica Patrick and the Moose. The Moose was on hand for the press conference and Mayor’s Luncheon prior to the first Go Daddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. “I really appreciate Mr. Jerry (Silverstein, President of the GoDaddy.com Bowl) including us. That was actually closer then they let us get during testing last year in Daytona for the ARCA race. It’s big for Mobile to have one of racings biggest names in for the bowl game. Our MaxForceRacing.com site has been registered with Go Daddy for years and I offered to help with their next commercial but it wasn’t happening,” said Thomas. Our Max Force Team has been working hard in the off season prepping 2 cars for the 2011 season. The tracks are starting to publish their schedules and we will release our 2011 schedule before Daytona.

For more Danica: www.danicaracing.com

For more on the Go Daddy.Com Bowl:  www.godaddybowl.com