Travis Braden’s RV road trip tour sees him return to Lebanon I-44 Speedway this Sunday, September 6 for Twin-100 lap races with the ARCA/CRA Super Series and JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. He will do so while carrying a crown jewel Super Late Model event on his Team Platinum No.26.
The reigning Snowball Derby champion will carry the Winchester 400 logo with him as he pulls double-duty in Missouri this weekend in both the Super and Pro Late Model. Braden owns seven career victories at Winchester Speedway, including the Winchester 400 back in 2016 after passing Eddie VanMeter on the final lap. It was also the site of his first touring series win, which came with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour back in October 2011 in a field that included current NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones.
While making an appearance in-studio on "The Bullring," he talked about how important it is to him to carry the namesake of his first crown jewel win on the car this weekend.
"Realistically, that was my first touring series victory; not in a Super but in a Pro Late Model at Winchester back in 2011. It was an unexpected good track of mine, that was my first race there back in 2011 and we won," Braden said. "I've had tons of success there, we've always competed for a win there, no matter if it was a Pro Late Model, Super Late Model, Labor Day, 400 weekend.
"I'm really looking forward to this year's show, you guys and the team promoting the event, along with the track. I'm looking forward to the growth the event's going to bring this year and into the future. Based from what I've seen this year from the shows that have allowed fans, I can't imagine what this year's 400 will be like. I know last year's was a record crowd so I can imagine what this year's is going to be like."
The Lucas Oil Show Me State Showdown saw Braden score top-five finishes in both events with Team Platinum back in the final weekend of May. Braden was fifth in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event to kick off the night, while his efforts in the ARCA/CRA Super Series portion of the Show Me State Showdown resulted in a fourth-place after being involved in a four-car battle for the lead late.
“We went there at the end of May, that was a lot of fun. We didn’t quite put it together and get a W but we raced both cars. We’re looking forward to going back with both cars, I feel like we have a great shot to perform,” he said. “It’s weird not going to Winchester on Labor Day but hopefully this puts on a great show. I think the crowd in May, if that says anything about who’s going to tune in and how many people will pay attention to this show, it’s going to be a lot.”
Braden had an eventful Show Me State Showdown the last time he was at Lebanon, at least on the Super Late Model side. After he was fastest overall in both divisions during Friday’s open practice, the team had to replace the motor in the Super after the opening round of Saturday practice.
As he looks for his first win of 2020, he hopes for a less eventful weekend this time around.
“We had a strong car, we were kind of fighting some things with our Super there that we couldn’t control. We blew a motor right there at the end of the first round of practice and we didn’t really get the chance to prepare properly for the race.
“I think going back and not having those issues and button up on everything and give another go. At the end of the race, I knew we weren’t the best outright with the car, so we were just trying to stay in the best position and make a run for it at the end. It didn’t quite work out but it made for a great show. There was four of us racing for the win, it seems like.”
This weekend will mark Braden’s fourth trip to Lebanon, with May’s appearance being his best yet by far. He has grown to be a fan of the track, which is one of just two asphalt race tracks in the Show Me State.
“It’s a really nice facility, a big facility with big grandstands. You’ve got a lot of camping and parking area behind the grandstands, which is kind of up on a hill. What I think is coolest about the place is there’s a lot of area. Everywhere besides the pits and the grandstands you can park a car or a camper or whatever you want to bring. You can pull up right to the fence and sit there and watch the race from your own personal spot.”
He goes into the event looking for his first win at Lebanon, which could possibly lock him into the championship four at Winchester for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour if he were to win in the Pro Late Model. No matter what the results are, Braden looks forward to putting on another great show at a track known for doing so.
“This track is really unique. You don’t really have a groove; you’re just floating in the corners. You can kind of be up or down, depending on what your car’s doing. It puts on some great racing and I think we’ll see some good stuff this weekend.”
Fans unable to make it to Lebanon I-44 Speedway can watch Sunday’s doubleheader live on the all-new Speed51.TV. Click here to purchase your PPV ticket today for $24.99.
Click here to watch a replay of Braden’s interview on Monday’s episode of “The Bullring.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo