It’s difficult to say that Travis Braden has struggled in ARCA/CRA Super Series competition the last two years because he’s won the championship each season, but at Toledo Speedway (OH) the West Virginia driver has had his fair share of woes. At least, when one looks at the results column that’s what they would think, but the results column doesn’t tell the whole story.
In 2014, Braden led every lap that he ran in the season-opening event at Toledo. Unfortunately for him, he only ran 47 of the 100 laps due to an electrical issue.
The year before, Braden flat-out struggled at Toledo on the way to a 27th-place finish after recording a DNF due to a radiator problem. He freely admits that he struggled during that race.
“Just thinking back it was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had in the race car,” Braden told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I just wasn’t comfortable and we weren’t fast. I don’t know what we did differently but when we came back last year we had a lot of speed.”
This Saturday, April 11, Braden heads back to Toledo when the ARCA/CRA Super Series opens its season live on 51 TV. Braden is determined to get the strong finish he feels Toledo owes him.
“I’m going back and I definitely want to get some redemption for at least the good finish that we deserved last year,” Braden said. “I’m extra motivated and I know my guys are too because of what happened in this race last year. I think people should look at us to be a big threat not just because of our speed, but also because we’re a little bit antsy to get going and we definitely don’t forget what happened to us last year.”
Braden described the wide, fast half-mile oval of Toledo as a “wavy” race track, and one that certainly takes a while to figure out.
“One of things that made me better as a driver last year was that I figured out that you don’t need to go all the way to the wall on the straightaways,” said Braden. “You stay kind of in the middle of the track which is weird because you don’t see that at many places.”
Because of his struggles at the track, Braden isn’t quick to call Toledo a fun track to race on but he’s hoping that will change this weekend.
“I think it is fun, but it’s hard for me to say, because I haven’t really gotten to race much there,” he said. “The first year we went didn’t last long and last year it wasn’t very long either. And yeah we got to race some, but I was in the lead the whole time so it was kind of like practice.”
For Braden, a win in the race would mean a lot more this year due to the live worldwide broadcast of the race on 51 TV. The live broadcast will also give Braden’s fans in his home state a rare chance to watch the blue and yellow West Virginia University No. 01 on a race track.
“It would be pretty neat (to win on 51 TV),” said Braden. “There hasn’t been many (pay-per-views) so it’s kind of like you’d be one of the first guys to do it.
“Where I live in West Virginia there are not many of my own fans that get to see me race in person. A lot of them do order the pay-per-view and watch. It’s definitely going to be cool if we can win any of the races on Speed 51 TV because of that aspect. My fans can see me race, which is something they don’t normally get to do.”
Fans wanting to watch Braden go for the win and seek redemption at Toledo on Saturday can purchase their live 51 TV ticket by clicking here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo