Over the past two weeks, Travis Braden has fielded offers from teams looking to put the defending Snowball Derby champion in a car for this year’s Derby. The next step is securing sponsorship to make a trip to Five Flags Speedway a reality.
Following the Winchester 400 earlier this month, Braden learned Team Platinum would not compete for the remainder of 2020, leaving him without a ride for the biggest Super Late Model race of the year.
Since then, Braden has entertained several offers to compete in the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby, scheduled for December 2-6. He has narrowed those offers down to a small handful which have garnered his serious interest.
“Right now, we’ve taken a little bit of time to reach out and see what opportunities might exist and everything,” Braden told Speed51. “There were a lot of people that we respect and gave us good opportunities to work things out with them. We’ve now nailed it down to a select few, or maybe one in particular, that we want to pursue.”
Now, Braden’s focus has turned towards securing sponsorship to bring to the table to put together the best possible effort at the Snowball Derby.
“What we’re looking at is trying to tie down some sponsorship in the next three to four weeks to make it a big deal and make things easier on everybody. Of course, we like to engage with our sponsors. That’s where we’re at. We think we can pull something together, but we’ve got to keep working on it and make it happen.”
Braden hopes that a potential sponsor will come on board that they can work with throughout the Snowball Derby experience, from the Miss Snowball Derby pageant in November all the way to the big race day.
“With the Snowball Derby pageant, and being involved with Speed51 and the Bryants, everyone at Five Flags Speedway, we think it would be cool to work with one presenting sponsor, if we could, of our Snowball Derby appearance. We’re trying to transition from what we could do as far as a team and equipment to what partners would want to be involved in going to the Snowball Derby with us this year.”
With the late notice for Braden’s search for a ride, he hopes to quickly secure sponsorship to enable as many opportunities as possible to make the experience a memorable one for himself, his team and sponsors coming on board for the journey.
“The sooner the better, right? We’re going to make this a big deal. It’s going to be a cool story and a big week, and there are a lot of things we’re going to do behind the scenes to make this a big deal. The earlier we can tie these things down, the more we can benefit.
“You can’t have a firesuit or have a set of decals done the day of the race. There’s a time factor. Some of those things, because it was late notice, might end up being impossible. We just want to do as much as we can and make this a fun deal.”
While the circumstances have been unenviable, Braden has taken solace that the process is allowing him to lay the foundation for what he hopes will be a long-term career and involvement in short track racing.
“It’s a humbling sport every day, and this situation is obviously humbling. We haven’t even publicly reached out for support yet, and the amount of support and respect we’ve received has been really cool to see.
“Honestly, I say this a lot and I’ve thought about it a lot more in the last couple of weeks, but my goal is to be in short track racing for the entirety of my career. I would love to retire at 50 or 60 years old as a short track racer. It’s a blessing in disguise to be in this situation where we are now building that future in racing so I can do that, and do this for a long time to come.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo