Kittleson Riding Hot Streak into Prestigious Snowball Derby CONCORD, NC (December 3, 2003) -- Few drivers in the United States are riding more of a hot streak than Florida-native Travis Kittleson. After competing in two big Super Late Model ...
Kittleson Riding Hot Streak into Prestigious Snowball Derby
CONCORD, NC (December 3, 2003) -- Few drivers in the United States are riding more of a hot streak than Florida-native Travis Kittleson. After competing in two big Super Late Model events on consecutive weekends, Kittleson is now focused on the biggest of them all; this weekend's 36th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
"We are on a roll right now and that should help us out this weekend," said Kittleson, who has three top-four finishes and two poles in his last three Super Late Model races. "We should have swept Ocala (FL), but that might have been a blessing in disguise for various reasons. Then, at Concord (NC), we had a car that was nearly untouchable. Things just didn't work out for us in the race and we ran out of time coming back to the front of the field. No one goes into a race hoping to finish fourth, but it was a decent run, especially for the quality of drivers that were there and the adversity we overcame."
Kittleson captured poles at both the Ocala Fall Festival (Ocala Speedway in Florida) and the Asphalt World Championship (Concord Motorsport Park in North Carolina). He won one of the twin 100-lap races at Ocala before finishing second in the other. With those finishes he won the overall title for the Fall Festival. Then, at Concord, Kittleson had the car to beat and led much of the early part of the race, but trouble during a late pit stop prevented him from catching up with the leaders. Kittleson finished fourth.
A first, second and fourth, plus two poles, give the youngster a little boost going into this weekend's big race.
"It's the Snowball Derby! It has been around so long and everyone usually shows up for it, so you need to be prepared. The best in each series have their own piece setting around the shop just for this race. It's one of the most competitive races all year long.
"It's been around so long and so many big names have won the event. What makes it even bigger is the names that have shown up and not even won (NASCAR stars Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Buddy Baker are a few). Just to be able to go there and have a chance to win is great and we certainly have a chance this year."
Despite the hot streak, Kittleson wasn't sure if he was going to the Snowball until Tuesday afternoon. In fact, it took a little convincing from a good friend, SPEED Channel reporter Bob Dillner. Now, Kittleson is ready to capture his first Snowball title, but he'll have to do so under a new set of rules. This year, the Snowball Derby officials have outlawed the ability to "soak" tires, which Kittleson thinks will make it a different race.
"It's going to be interesting in how the new rules will change things. The track is so tough on tires as it is. The best way I can put it is like running on a gravel road. If you've been on a gravel road, you can kick the rear end of the car out, but you can keep control. You are on the edge all the time at that track. If you make any erratic moves, you are normally done. It'll be interesting and hopefully we'll be able to visit victory lane."