Travis Kittleson Set For NASCAR Busch Series Debut After Successful Test at Memphis, ASA Veteran Says He's Got A Shot CONCORD, NC (October 19, 2004) -- The last couple of weeks are two that young up-and-coming racer Travis Kittleson will never...
Travis Kittleson Set For NASCAR Busch Series Debut
After Successful Test at Memphis, ASA Veteran Says He's Got A Shot
CONCORD, NC (October 19, 2004) -- The last couple of weeks are two that young up-and-coming racer Travis Kittleson will never forget. First, he made his Lowe's Motor Speedway (NC) debut last week in front of the NASCAR Busch and Cup communities when he finished an impressive sixth in the American Speed Association event at the 1.5-mile track.
This week, Kittleson will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut, coming during the Sam's Town 'He Dared To Rock' 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park (TN).
"I'm so pumped about this weekend," said Kittleson, "I can hardly contain myself. As a driver, this is a level that I've dreamed of getting to for quite some time and it is amazing to think that it is finally here and finally happening. But what makes me even that more excited is that when we tested the car at Memphis several weeks ago, things went really well and our times were awesome. When you make a step up like this, you want to do it right and I think we have a shot to make an impact."
Kittleson and his R/T Racing team purchased a Busch car earlier this year and have been working diligently on the car between their full-time ASA operation to prepare for the Memphis event. In early September, Kittleson made a trip out to Memphis to test for the race and came back smiling.
"I don't think that it could have gone much better," said Kittleson after the test. "Our team isn't even on a shoestring budget. It's more like a dental floss budget for us. But we still had very competitive times compared to the DEI cars that were there testing with us that day. On a simulated qualifying run, we were about as fast as Martin (Truex Jr, current Busch Series points leader). It feels good just to be in the same second bracket as those guys."
Kittleson will be tutored again at Memphis by former Evernham Motorsports Cup Series crew chief Patrick Donohue. Donohue has been working with Kittleson a lot over the last month in not only his Busch Series effort, but also his ASA ride.
"Patrick is a big, big help," added Kittleson. "I've got a great relationship with my crew chief Gary Crooks, but Patrick brings in that Cup and Busch car experience where all of us are lacking. He can tell us things to do to the car or things for me to do to my driving style right away that might take us a little bit of time to figure out because we are still learning about these cars. So having Patrick with us, and then Gary and the rest of the regular crew, things will run pretty smoothly."
Kittleson's No. 65 Busch car will be sponsored by Bob Steele Chevrolet, Kittleson's long-time ASA sponsor. He will also have the help of his regular ASA crew during the weekend.
It was Kittleson's crew and their preparation, along with some solid driving, that led Kittleson to a sixth-place finish in last Thursday's ASA race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Aaron's 99 marked the debut for the ASA National Tour race at Lowe's Motor Speedway and was just the third speedway event on the short track series schedule.
With the race shortened to 66 laps (99 miles) instead of the originally-planned 99 laps, Kittleson had little time to work his way to the front. With ASA's unique aerodynamic package, which makes for tough passing conditions, Kittleson quickly moved into the top-10 and started picking cars off one-by-one after that, but just ran out of time to make a run for the top spot. For the ASA cars, Kittleson was thankful to have even made it as long as he did in the wreck-filled race.
"It was a good car other than it was wicked loose to drive thanks to the aero package they have on these cars. But really, I'm disappointed because it was such a short race and that really hurt our chances of a top-five or even a win," said Kittleson. "The whole point of getting up to this level is to build your stamina and allow you to come up with strategy. If I wanted to still run 25-lap races I'd still be racing at Orlando Speedworld. If you started in the back, it was tough to even try to make it up to the front with such a short race and all the caution laps we ended up running."
Kittleson looks forward to a possible return to LMS and knows that better racing could be possible at the track.
"This place probably puts on some pretty good racing, we just didn't have the time to see it," said Kittleson. "It was everything I thought it would be. The only thing is that I thought that it would be a lot wider than it really was."
The ASA National Tour ends their season with another speedway race on October 29th. This time, the tour will visit Atlanta Motor Speedway (GA).
This Sam's Town 'He Dared To Rock' 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park (TN) can be seen Saturday (October 23rd) on TNT at 3:30 pm.
R/T Racing is looking for marketing partners for their motorsports program. For inquiries, call the team at 321-693-6700 and be sure to visit traviskittleson.com for more information.