CONCORD, NC (September 3, 2003) -- Rookie Travis Kittleson will be the first to tell anyone that his Bob Steele Chevrolet team is the biggest reason he currently sits sixth in the ASA National Championship point standings. The team proved again...
CONCORD, NC (September 3, 2003) -- Rookie Travis Kittleson will be the first to tell anyone that his Bob Steele Chevrolet team is the biggest reason he currently sits sixth in the ASA National Championship point standings. The team proved again this weekend why they are one of the top crews in the series, shining in the Impact Racing Pit Stop Competition and overcoming serious adversity to salvage a respectable finish in Monday's Greased Lightning Orange Blast 400 at Elko (MN) Speedway.
Kittleson qualified third after dominating the weekend's practice session's at the 3/8-mile bullring. Travis quickly jumped out front, settled into second spot and hounded leader Joey Clanton for 30 laps before the first round of pit stops brought the R/T Racing team to pit road.
"We had an awesome car," said Kittleson. "I really think our car and Joey's (Clanton) car were the ones to beat. But we knew this was a long race (400 laps), so we were just biding our time. We wanted to save the car for the end. Unfortunately, we came into the pits and as we were leaving, the rear axle snapped.
"My (crew) guys busted their butts to get the thing changed and get us back out there without losing too many laps. Thankfully, it was under caution, so we only lost three laps. I don't know any other team that would have changed an axle that quick. It was a real bummer for the team because we had such a good car, but I was so proud of my guys. They really showed what they were made of right there. I couldn't thank them enough on the radio."
Kittleson's car remained fast, making up one lap during green flag conditions. Despite turning in the fastest lap of the race, Kittleson ran out of time and came home 17th, two laps off of the pace.
"We really made some ground up on everyone this weekend. This was our race to win, but once again, we suffered through some mechanical bad luck. We just can't control these kinds of things, but we are not going to let that get us down. We are still right on the edge of winning that first race, and with the effort my guys put into the whole weekend, I think it may come pretty soon."
The team also competed in the Impact Racing ASA National Pit Stop Challenge on Saturday and Sunday. In Saturday's preliminaries, the team placed second of 19 competing teams and qualified for Sunday's finals. During the finals, the team turned in another fast stop and came home fifth.
The Bob Steele Chevrolet team will now have several weeks off to regroup before returning to action on September 20th at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schereville, Indiana.
In the meantime, Travis will make the trip to Richmond (VA) this coming weekend to get acquainted with the stars of the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series at Richmond International Raceway.