Performing in the clutch separates the best drivers from the pack. When the laps are counting down and the lights are shining brightest, the top racers thrive under pressure. Each month during the 2019 season, Tilton Engineering will honor a “Clutch Performer of the Month” from the world of short track racing.
The winner of the Tilton Engineering Clutch Performer of the Month Award for the month of December is…
Super Late Models
When you come to an event like the Snowball Derby, there is so much that can not go your way over the four long days that make up this Super Late Model classic. Practice over three days, the most intense session of qualifying in racing nowadays, and of course the 300 laps of racing the sturdiest field of the year. But, the chance for trip ups are also chances for brilliance.
That may be the best way to describe Travis Braden’s time at the 52nd Snowball Derby, at least from Friday afternoon on. After colliding with another car in the final Friday practice, the last before the all-important qualifying session, Braden and the No. 26 camp were faced with a damaged car, long odds of timing in, and even greater of winning the race on Sunday.
But, the challenge was accepted, with the crew scrambling to fix the car in three hours, present it legally for inspection, and make a qualifying run. When it was all said and done, the qualifying run good enough just to make the last spot in the Top 30, in the field for the big dance, allowing their efforts on Saturday to be towards a race setup. Pretty clutch, but that was only the beginning.
After waiting patiently for the rain to pass on Sunday, Braden went into Monday night with just the car he needed. After surviving the calamities of the 300-lap marathon, Braden ended the night in contention on the final restart, taking the checkers second in order, barely edging out Jake Garcia. So close, but as it turned out, the racing spirits had one last surprise in store, with the disqualification of Stephen Nasse from the win, the Tom Dawson trophy was Braden’s thanks to his hard driving, and his crew’s attention to detail through adversity.
For coming up in the clutch and pulling off one of the biggest comebacks in Snowball Derby history, Travis Braden has been named the Tilton Clutch Performer of the Month for December. Braden will receive a $250 product certificate from Tilton Engineering for his clutch performances.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51