"Off-season" over, Moose man back in gear...Daytona testing next

"Off-season" over, Moose man back in gear...Daytona testing next

TOLEDO, Ohio (Jan. 2, 2017) - When the clock struck 2017, Thomas "Moose" Praytor set aside his holiday cheer and got back in gear. Actually the Mobile, Alabama ARCA driver never really got out of gear. He can't...the open test at Daytona is less than two weeks away.

"It's crunch time for Daytona," said Praytor, coming off a career-best fifth in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship standings.

While he wasn't 100 percent sure, Praytor, and whatever volunteer help he can find in the off-season, are doing everything they can to prepare for the open test coming January 13-14-15.

Thomas Praytor candid pose"That's the plan right now...to get to Daytona for the test. And we're doing everything we can to get there."

Praytor and his Max-Force Racing team moved into a new shop in mid-season, 2016.

"Much of our 'off-season' has been getting everything organized and put away where it needs to go. Back when we moved into the new shop, we were still going to the race track every weekend."

Getting a new shop organized is one thing...getting the equipment ready for the tour's biggest event is another. Ready or not, the 54th annual Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona Int'l Speedway is coming fast - February 18 to be exact.

"We're going to have the Ilmor engine for Daytona and Talladega. Hopefully, we'll have the Ilmor for a couple more races this year. Running the Ilmor everywhere is really the next level in our program, and we're doing everything we can to work toward that.

"I'm not sure about the Composite body for this year. We've got our hands tied behind our backs with the metal cars and the legacy engines, but we just have to keep doing the best we can with what we've got."

While Moose reaps the benefits of his small mob of volunteer University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) students at the track, for much of the off-season, he's, at times, on his own in the race shop. However, there's help on the horizon according to a plan that's still coming together.

"My crew chief Adam Lowe is planning to move down in March...that's when he finally graduates from UNOH. Having Adam down here in the shop full-time will take a big load off. That's something I've never had."Thomas Praytor UNOH crew Salem 2016

With Moose at the controls in the shop, his father and sister have been out beating the path in search of more operating money to help make the team go.

"I feel like DK-LOK will help some...they've been great to work with. We're always trying to find more money to help us out...my dad and sister pretty-much handle the PR end of my race team. We've heard some positive things, so hopefully we can get something secured before Daytona in February."

At any rate, Moose knows the off-season is clearly in the rear-view mirror and it's time to get back to work, not that he ever stopped.

"There's no off-season...not sure who came up with that term, but it doesn't apply around here...except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. To me, if there's an off-season, it's those holidays. I feel like I can take those days off and don't feel stressed out...and that's a good thing.

"I got to do some fishing and duck hunting...we take a little time off, and it feels good, but it's time to get back on it."

The mid-January open test at Daytona marks the second consecutive year ARCA’s annual pre-season testing sessions will be held exclusively in January. The series had historically held its test sessions in December.

A third day of on-track activity has been scheduled for Sunday, January 15. The Sunday agenda is slated exclusively for testing of the Five Star Composite body, scheduled to debut at Daytona in February of 2018. Series officials announced this fall that 2017 would be the final year that steel bodied cars would be eligible for competition at the two superspeedways annually on the ARCA Racing Series schedule (Daytona and Talladega).

The Sunday date is also being reserved as a rain date, in the event either Friday or Saturday’s activities are affected by weather.

ARCAracing.com will feature live timing, scoring and chat for all three test days at Daytona.

Don Radebaugh

Ed Pompa

Sounds like Tommy P is starting to live up to the 'worst dad in the garage' title.


Come on Pop...." Turn The Moose Loose " !!

Tom H.

Let's go Moose!


Hope you have a great season in 2017, Moose!

Tommy P.

He never listens!


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