The off season has been a busy productive time for Team DK-LOK and the Annual ARCA Test at Daytona was the team’s first chance to see their hard work pay off.
A day of rain pushed the anticipation meter a notch or two higher for rookies making their first laps at Daytona attempting to get ARCA Speedway approval. The rain out day was pure torture.
For the driver of the DK-LOK Ford making his 7th appearance at Daytona, the rain was an opportunity to continue fine tuning on his favorite Superspeedway car. While Thomas “Moose” Praytor was thinking about his car it didn’t take long for the rookies to find their way down for some advice
“It was really cool for me to get to talk with the young guys before they made their first laps at Daytona. The first time I was here I was so nervous I had to have help buckling my seat belts,” offered Praytor. “Most of them reminded me of me and my family coming down here in 2011 just in complete awe of what they were about to do. I had an opportunity to draft with a lot of them and they were all doing a really good job. I hope they all get an opportunity to race at this level.”
With clear skies on Saturday, 66 drivers representing over 25 teams scrambled to get on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. The Moose rolled out his DK-LOK Ford for a few single shake down laps that put him towards the top of the speed chart for single car runs.
“Our DK-LOK Ford was rock solid and I couldn’t wait to draft.”
With basically a new car and a new motor the team took the time to go over their Ford in detail before sending the Moose back out to draft for the first time with the new Ilmore 396 engine.
In the draft the DK-LOK Ford quickly came to life but was just a little shy of what the team was looking for.
“We could suck up really well but it just felt like we were running out of power when we were trying to make moves.”
Gear selection can make a huge difference at Daytona, with 4 sets in the hauler the team went to work changing gears.
On track the gear change was what the doctor ordered and the Moose was rumbling around Daytona.
“The gear change let me move our DK-LOK Ford around the other cars, we were good sucking up to the back of the pack, solid in the middle and of course she really liked being up front.”
The DK-LOK Fords performance let the team fold up shop and head back to Mobile after just the one day of testing. Sixty six drivers tested on Saturday with Team DK-LOK solidly in the top 10 of the teams that tested and the Moose 28th on the driver list.
“We really have a DK-LOK hot rod that I can’t wait to get back for the race. Our guys worked hard at the track and we were able to overcome the small issues and get some really good data that made our car better. Our Ilmore engine and the Ilmore team working with us did a great job and our first experience with Ilmore 396 was a success.”
The Lucas Oil 200 is 25 days away with the green flag flying on the start of the 2016 season on February 13th at 3:15 PM CST with live coverage on Fox Sports 1.
Picture: DK-LOK Ford leading draft pack during testing at Daytona International Speedway.