Travis Dassow has been a mainstay on the Midwest racing circuit for over a dozen years. While the West Bend, Wisconsin driver might not have all the hardware he would like to go along with his years behind the wheel, lately things seem to be on an upward swing.
This year Dassow has picked up a pair of top-five finishes in the TUNDRA Series and, most recently, grabbed a pair of podium finishes at two prestigious races in the Midwest, the Red Race at Wisconsin International Race and the Slinger Nationals.
The most recent third-place finish at the Slinger Nationals stands out most to the 29-year-old driver. Not only was it Dassow’s highest finish at The Nationals, but finishing behind Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones isn’t exactly bad company to keep.
“I usually have bad luck at the Nationals and something always seems to happen, whether it’s bad qualifying, getting in an early wreck or mechanical issues,” Dassow told Speed51.com. “So we went in just doing what we’ve been doing this year and not over thinking it.”
For Dassow that meant running limited practice and making sure to not over adjust on the car, keeping in it shape for the 200-lap event. Dassow laid down the fifth fastest time in qualifying and things continued to go well from there.
“I just tried to stay around the top five the whole race and not use up my equipment early and it paid off,” said Dassow. “With the restart on the green-white-checkered I knew we had a chance sitting in third, but just needed things to go my way. It almost happened, watching the two of them almost take each other out would have made for a heck of a win, but finishing third to two drivers of that quality really feels close to a win, especially for the luck we’ve had in the race in the past.”
What’s the difference this year than the past eleven? For Dassow, the answer is simple.
“I have to look at the car and everything else around it,” said Dassow. “We built a brand new Pathfinder to start the year, it’s the first new car I’ve built in 11 years, and got a new motor from Donny at B&B Engines that runs right with the LS engines. I also have some people I am able to bounce ideas off and that has really helped too.”
As Dassow continues to show signs of success, his confidence builds. With four top-five finishes at three different tracks under his belt so far this year, it seems imminent the Wisconsin driver will find Victory Lane in 2016. And while a win would be nice, for Dassow just being completive again has rejuvenated his spirit in racing.
“It feels really good this year being able to show up at any track and know we have a good enough car to run in the top five and compete for wins,” said Dassow. “It really makes it a lot more fun racing again. It’s been awhile since we’ve been this competitive and hope we can keep building on it and get a couple wins before the end of the season.”
Besides seeing more success on the track this year, Dassow has other reasons to celebrate as well. This past May Dassow and his wife, Kelsey, welcomed their first child, Easton Dassow. And his three month old son may also hold the key to his 2016 success.
“Becoming a father this year, I think had made my racing evolve also this year,” said Dassow. “Last year when we found out Kelsey was pregnant we decided to build the race shop at the house so I could be around her and Easton more. I think it has really helped the race team with keeping me at home more and being able to concentrate on racing more along with trying to be there as much as I can for my son. We hope when he gets old enough he wants to start racing to and keep it in the family and make it something we all do together.”
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo credit: Travis Dassow Facebook