CRA Champ Travis Braden Preps for ARCA Debut, Hopes for ’16 ARCA Runby Kyle Pokrefky July 24, 2015 0 comments
INDIANAPOLIS — Two-time defending ARCA/CRA Super Series champion Travis Braden is ready to don his graduation cap and gown on Friday night as he is set to make his ARCA Racing Series debut in the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway.
The 21-year-old current attendee of West Virginia University returns to familiar stomping grounds from his CRA Super Series tenure with a family-owned No. 01 Chevrolet sponsored by his current school.
A member of ARCA’s ‘Road to Daytona’ program for the last three years, Braden hopes to not only use a potentially successful outing at Lucas Oil tonight to land more ARCA starts this year, but to use it as a springboard to a larger ARCA schedule in 2016.
“Everything we do is completely dependent on our budget,” Braden told The Fourth Turn on Thursday. “It basically depends on how we [are] after this race. If we have a pretty decent car and it’s not torn up, we should be in pretty good shape to run a couple more. If it’s completely destroyed, then it might not happen again this year. It just depends on how this race goes really.”
What Braden hopes to accomplish with a strong run tonight is to show potential sponsors that a sponsorship package for his family team in the ARCA ranks would be a worthy investment. With the race being broadcast on FOX Sports 1, Braden points out that there will be a lot more visibility for both himself and his team than there usually is with his late model program.
“Unfortunately, with late model racing, people that aren’t into racing much, they only really know about NASCAR and they might know about ARCA because of the TV, the media and the publicity,” Braden stated. “Most people don’t know what a late model is although I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face that late model racing is usually more competitive than any kind of racing in the country – just like dirt racing … It’s just not seen in the public eye as much.”
“Our idea here is I needed to move up anyway, but we’d also like to run a couple races this year so we could spend our offseason and kind of working on explaining to sponsors saying ‘hey, this is something we can do, they’ve got a pretty good TV package, we can run a number of races all around the country really and it’s a pretty big stage,’ Braden continued. “It definitely can lead, as you see with a lot of drivers, into a pretty good career moving on into NASCAR. Obviously, we understand that, but sometimes some of our sponsors just don’t know – it’s not their fault – but they don’t know how it all works. That’s kind of what we’re trying to do – show them how easy it is, if we could just find the funding, to actually go do this stuff.”
The presence of the logo of West Virginia University, where he’s set to graduate in December of 2016 with degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, on the hood of his car should play a key role in obtaining new sponsors.
Coming together to partner with his racing program following the Wheeling, W.Va’s first semester of attendance at WVU nearly three years ago through a connection of a connection, the vibrant blue-and-yellow design of his ride for the weekend and his past CRA rides has done its fair share of attracting sponsors in the past.
“The paint scheme’s vivid and the logo is, when you see it, whether you’re from around there or not, you recognize it,” Braden remarked. “It helps bring attention and it helps attract other sponsors as well.”
Initially set to make his ARCA debut at Winchester Speedway nearly one full month ago, Travis Braden Motorsports decided to push back their debut to further prepare for their maiden voyage into the ARCA Racing Series.
Logistically – and when taking into account the coverage the race weekend will receive – Lucas Oil appeared as a suitable venue for the team’s debut and for the start of their push to become a series regular.
“The next race on the schedule that made sense for us was Lucas Oil Raceway just because of a number of variables – but primarily because I have pretty decent experience racing late models a few times there,” Braden stated. “It’s a shorter track, something I’m more accustomed to lately. It’s a pretty big show as well – it’s on TV and everything.
“There’s a number of reasons why we decided to make this our debut. We’ll be there [tonight] and hopefully we can run a couple of more races throughout the rest of the year – that’s our goal.”
The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 tonight at 9:00 p.m EST.
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PHOTO CREDIT: ARCAracing.com