MOBILE, Ala. (May 14, 2018) -- What grew from an initial three-race deal into 105 consecutive races and over 13,000 laps of competition, is coming to an end for Thomas “Moose” Praytor. You'd have to go back to October of 2012 to not find the "Ironman" in the ARCA lineup.
Praytor has announced that he will not be competing in the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway this Sunday.
“It’s been an incredible run…I never thought I would get to make one ARCA race much less over 100," said Praytor.
The streak started with Praytor driving for long time ARCA owners Wayne and Pam Hixson out of Soddy Daisy Tennessee.
“I had never heard of Soddy Daisy before, and the next thing I knew I was living in Mr. Wayne’s basement working on race cars. I learned so much about cars and what it took run a race team at this level. I couldn’t have even gotten started without the Hixsons.”
After a couple of years under Hixson’s tutelage, Praytor moved back to Mobile, driving for his family-run Max Force Racing team. The Mobile native responded with is best ARCA finish at the ARCA Mobile 200.
“Racing in front of the hometown crowd, leading for the first time, just missing a top-five, that will always be a special day for me.”
The streak has taken the Moose on over 300,000 miles of towing and some wild trips.
“We tore the front off the trailer off in Fort Deposit, Alabama on our way to Pocono. The trailer was literally laying on the ground. Next thing we know some good ole boys showed up dragged us to an abandoned service station. Before it was over I think most of the racing community in Fort Deposit was working on our trailer. We called in a replacement trailer from Mobile but the guys in Fort Deposit would have known of it and insisted we were better off than before. About 3 a.m., they put the finishing touches on it and we were off to Pocono…just wild.”
The hauler became a familiar issue for Praytor with tires popping like balloons and the I-Beams splitting apart in Louisville.
“We ended up living in Louisville for a month working out of Bo LeMastus’s warehouse. I think we stole…uh…borrowed parts from everyone in the series to keep going. Bill and Will Kimmel even had us over to their house for Father’s Day dinner.”
Parts weren’t the only thing Praytor needed to keep going.
“We blew a motor in Pocono without a back up and we borrowed Sarah Cornett Ching’s car to start the race. That was the most we ever borrowed at one time but our ARCA family has really kept us going.
“When you are in the middle of streak like we were on, you really don’t think about the toll it’s taking on you and your family. I mean when we started this deal my Dad didn’t have hair and now he looks like a hippie. In the middle of last season it finally started to catch up with me.
“We decided to finish the year, and just like the streak started, end it with the first few races going through Talladega.”
Is this the end of the line for the Moose?
“Oh no! We have a lot of people calling and wanting to drive our cars. Ronnie Osmer did a great job in Daytona for us and we expect him to race a few more times. I’ll still be preparing our cars and coming to the racetrack as crew chief and my Dad and I may swap up spotter roles. I’m going to get to yell at him for a change.”
Praytor is also planning to do more racing himself.
“I’ve got favorite places I like to go, I’ve already circled DuQuoin and Springfield. Over the last six years I’ve become a big fan of the dirt and I love plate racing. Lucas Oil, St. Louis and Kansas may pop up but I’m really going to try and recharge. My Dad has a hat he started wearing last year. It says “Make Racing Fun Again." That’s what we’re going to do.”