CONCORD, NC (July 1, 2003) -- Young Floridian Travis Kittleson is making everyone believers. Going into his rookie season in the highly competitive ASA Racing Series, some didn't know what to expect from Kittleson and the Bob Steele Chevrolet...
CONCORD, NC (July 1, 2003) -- Young Floridian Travis Kittleson is making everyone believers. Going into his rookie season in the highly competitive ASA Racing Series, some didn't know what to expect from Kittleson and the Bob Steele Chevrolet team. Those who had watched him race around the "Sunshine State" knew of his potential, but he still remained a secret to much of the racing world-- not anymore. At the season's midpoint, many now believe in Kittleson's potential. He and the entire R/T Racing team have turned a lot of heads by positioning themselves sixth in the ASA national standings and a close second in the $50,000 Rookie of the Year chase.
"It has been a pretty good year," said Kittleson. "We knew that we would be competitive. I don't think everyone else thought we would be as competitive as we have been, but we knew that we could do it as a team. This whole group of guys just stepped up and decided that this was going to be our year to shine.
"We are actually a little disappointed because we had hoped to have a pole or a win by now, but that will come in time. We have shown that we are here to race and here to win. Without getting caught up in someone else's accident at Lanier (National Speedway in April), we would probably still be the rookie point leader or just a few points out of the top spot. That's over and done with and we are focused on the rest of this season.
"We believe in ourselves and we know that this is a top-five team. It is tough to do because this series is so competitive this year. There are a lot of good rookies and there are always a lot of awesome veterans in ASA. Some of the veterans have been a little hard on us rookies, but I just think they aren't accustomed to having so many talented rookies racing them for the top spots every week."
Kittleson's stats have been pretty impressive through the season's first nine races. Kittleson has raced to podium finishes twice (top three finishers in every race), including a career-best, second-place finish at Concord Motorsport Park in April. He finished third at Toledo a month later. Kittleson has two additional top-five finishes and a total of six top-10 runs. Kittleson has led a bunch of laps in a category that has been dominated by veteran Mike Garvey.
The team has also shown its strength this season by overcoming some serious obstacles, including a sour engine at I-70 Speedway. Despite the lack of power, the team's setup kept Travis in the top-10 all night long and in the ASA National Championship point race.
"You have to be perfect every week; we have been close to that on most occasions. The only times we haven't been in the top-10 this year has been when we have had to deal with circumstances beyond our control. We are now a team that is a threat to go out and grab the pole and compete for the win every week. This team is now in everybody's mind each week and that's what we wanted to accomplish."
Kittleson finished 14th on Saturday night in the Club 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, which was only his third finish outside the top-10 this year. Travis fought a tight-handling racecar all night long, one that finally got the best of the team with just seven laps to go. The number-30 car spun in turn two while racing for seventh place.