Wheeling, West Virginia (Wednesday, November 19, 2014): No matter how the 2014 racing season ends for 20-year-old Travis Braden, one thing he will take away from the year that no one else can claim is the fact that he’s now a two-time ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS Champion. The Wheeling, West Virginia driver overcame a slow start in the first three races of the year to roar back with 11 consecutive top five finishes, including two wins, en route to repeating at champion in the premier Super Late Model tour in the country.
“It feels great to be a two-time champion. This title feels a lot more rewarding than the first in a few ways. The battle throughout the year with (2014 Runner-up) Ross (Kenseth) made the level of intensity so much higher,” the WVU Engineering Student reflected. “Those guys were so consistent and persistent and even though throughout most of the season we had a slight edge on them from a performance standpoint, the few bad weeks we had at the beginning of the season as well as Ross’ heightened performance the last few races left us in a spot where a lot could go wrong.”
“To pull off the stellar finish in the Winchester 400 that I knew we could achieve, clinching the championship in that fashion, was really special and honestly probably still hasn’t sunk in yet on me,” continued the Mountaineer State standout. “When you sit back and think of how one small glitch in the entire season or even just the Winchester 400 would have changed our fate, it makes you cherish it that much more.”
Now that the ARCA/CRA Super Series season is over, Braden is looking for a new challenge and it’ll come in the form of the most prestigious short track race in the country; the 47th Annual Snowball Derby. From December 3-7th, the fast 1/2 (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida serves as hosts and in addition to racing the Derby, Braden and crew will also bring a second car and compete in the most prestigious Pro Late Model race in the country; the Snowflake 100, held the night before the Snowball Derby, on Saturday, December 6th.
“I surprisingly feel more confident than before about our chances to win. Just seeing the superb execution of this crew at Winchester, and the fight to recover and capitalize at Nashville,” Continued Braden. “I know that if luck stays on our side at the Snowball and we can simply race our race, we will have the speed to contend but more importantly we will have the execution in the pits and with strategy to get me in position to win. I simply can’t wait to get there,” he stated.
After closing out the ARCA/CRA Super Series season, Braden and crew ventured down to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) for the 30th Running of the All-American 400 on October 31-November 1st. Now a Pro Late Model event and with a points battle over, Braden was looking to tackle some post-season shows; “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a few years and didn’t have the funds to do so. We decided to make the AA400 and Snowball a must. So far, after attempting the AA400 we are a little bummed out, but feeling good about the Snowball Derby,” he explained.
“Our weekend at the AA400 was not perfect right from the get go, but I felt like by the time the race began we had something to work with, only to have an oil cooler break before lap 50,” he added. “We had struggled for the overall feel that I wanted all weekend, but my guys made a good change right before qualifying, which turned out disastrous as we had a number of issues on our qualifying laps (cold engine stuttering, fogged up visor). I felt like the guys gave me a car that was good enough to qualify top 10 but I simply let them down.”
“But I was ready to go make it up in the race, where of course we didn’t get the chance to. Overall we felt like it was a potentially decent weekend that turned into a nightmare. But we’re moving onward and upward, forgetting about Nashville and concentrating on the entire Snowball Derby week with both the Super Late Model and Pro Late Model. The entire week can’t get here fast enough,” Braden ended.
In the 2014 ARCA/CRA Super Series season, Braden won his second straight championship by 47 points over Kenseth (1315-1268). Braden visited victory lane twice with those triumphs coming at Columbus Motor Speedway (OH) on August 2nd in the JEGS Bud St. Amant Memorial 174 and again two weeks later at Flat Rock Speedway (MI) on August 16th in the 7-Up 125. Those wins went with an impressive 11 consecutive top five finishes to close out the year en route to repeat title. Those top five’s also accounted for his 11 top 10 finishes.
-Travis Braden Motorsports Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com