CONCORD, NC (May 20, 2003) -- "I really wish the race was only 250 laps long this week." Those were the first thoughts of ASA rookie Travis Kittleson once he climbed out of his car after Sunday's 300-lap Glass City 300 at Toledo Speedway.
CONCORD, NC (May 20, 2003) -- "I really wish the race was only 250 laps long this week." Those were the first thoughts of ASA rookie Travis Kittleson once he climbed out of his car after Sunday's 300-lap Glass City 300 at Toledo Speedway. Kittleson had just scored his second podium result in the last three ASA races and the 23-year-old knows he continues to impress and climb the charts in the toughest short track series in America.
The Florida rookie finished third in Sunday's event, moving him up to fourth in the ASA National Championship point standings and keeping him in the $50,000 Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year point lead. But if the race were only 250-laps long, he might have been contending for the race win with veteran Mike Garvey.
"We ran the tires off the car racing with Mike there before he crashed out," said Kittleson, who inherited the lead on lap 252 after Garvey hit the wall while out front. "If we didn't wear the tires off the car there, we would have had a little more for those guys at the end of the race. Overall, though, it was a really good day."
Kittleson held the lead until lap 284 when eventual race winner Butch Miller passed him after a very intense side-by-side battle. A late race caution allowed Kevin Cywinski to erase the gap in between him and Kittleson. The former ASA champ was then able to get by Travis during the restart with three laps to go. Kittleson held on to finish third, his third top-five finish in the first five races of the 2003 season.
"It was a great points day for the Bob Steele Chevrolet team. Unfortunately, we didn't hold on to the lead, but the standings at the end of the year mean a lot, too. I really didn't need to see that last caution because we had another second-place finish locked up with only a few laps to go. We had good pit strategy today and that got us up there to the front and into the lead.
"It frustrates you to be leading late in the race and not win, but we will win ours soon enough. It is better to at least be up there and in a position to win these races. This team is getting the ball rolling and I feel it is just the beginning for what this team can do. Every week, we are getting better.
"It is still amazing to know that we are up there running so competitively with some of the best drivers out there: guys like Butch Miller, Cywinski, Garvey, Gary St. Amant, and Robbie Pyle. It wasn't a question of knowing we could do it, but it just makes you realize where the team has come from in such a short time frame. To know that you are able to be contending for a win with them; it lets you know that you are getting somewhere."
Kittleson and the team will have another quick turn around from their home base of Mooresville (NC) this season as the series heads to Cedar Rapids (IA) for the annual stop at Hawkeye Downs Speedway. Travis and the team tested at the half-mile oval a couple of weeks ago and they expect big things out of the sixth race of the 2003 season. The Saturday evening event will be televised live on SPEED Channel beginning at 9 pm (ET).