Sunday, November 17, 2003 - Ocala, FL - Travis Kittleson and the R/T Race team brought back out the ...
Sunday, November 17, 2003 - Ocala, FL - Travis Kittleson and the R/T Race team brought back out the #88 Bob Steele Chevrolet sponsored super late model. The 2003 Fall Festival in Ocala, Florida saw the return of Travis Kittleson to the Super Late Model scene after finishing in the top 10 in points for his Rookie season in the ASA Series that Builds Champions.
The 2003 Fall Festival brought out a stellar field of drivers. Short track legend Dick Anderson, two-time NASCAR All Pro Champion Wayne Anderson, former NASCAR All Pro Champion Billy Bigley, former Hooters Pro Cup Champion Mario Gosselin, Southern All Stars Champion Wayne Willard, and a host of the best late model drivers in the south.
Travis started out the weekend on Saturday evening by qualifying with not only the fastest lap, but also a new track record besting the previous record by three-tenths of a second. After drawing for position, Travis would start the first 100 lap race on Sunday on the outside of the front row.
The first race saw Travis fall in behind Wayne Anderson for the third position after the re-start and shortly thereafter he made his way into the second position. Travis ran nose to tail with Wayne for the lead applying constant pressure around the entire track.
After many laps of intense pressure, Wayne pushed it too hard coming off of turn four and scraped the front stretch wall giving Travis just the opening he needed to make the pass going into turn one. Once Travis had secured the lead he was never seriously challenged and went on to lead the remaining 52 laps.
The top six drivers inverted to start the second 100 lap feature event. Travis started on the outside of row three. After several green flag laps, Travis was able to get back into the sixth position after loosing a couple positions battling on the outside and avoiding an accident.
Kittleson made his way up to 3rd position by lap 58 and on lap 66 Travis had made his way into the lead. Travis quickly pulled out to a several car length advantage over Wayne Anderson and the rest of the field and was never seriously challenged until late race cautions came out.
The final 15 green flag laps saw several cautions and closed the field for multiple restarts. Travis had been able to pull away from Wayne Anderson on the restarts and get out to a comfortable lead, however the last restart of the race would end up causing Travis the race. As Travis took the green flag he spun his tires and continued to spin them going into turn one as Wayne ducked inside to make the pass. Travis quickly regained the car and was nose to tail with Wayne for the remaining laps but was unable to make the pass on the short track veteran. "We must of picked up some stuff on the tires after that last caution because it was a handful," said Kittleson. "Wayne took advantage and that's what he's supposed to do."
Travis' nearly perfect weekend gave him the overall 2003 Fall Festival Championship.
Travis and the Bob Steele Chevrolet race team will be heading to Concord Motorsports Park near Charlotte, North Carolina from November 21st to 23rd for the Super Late Model Asphalt World Championships.