Singers dream of performing at the Lincoln Center. Kids on a corner sandlot dream of playing someday at Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium. Golfers imagine teeing up at Pebble Beach.
Travis Kittleson has proven to be a winner in both anything he's driven and he hopes that success carries over to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Racecar drivers think about trying out their skills at many different places – Daytona, Indianapolis or LeMans perhaps. But the hardcore racers, the ones who grew up around short tracks and aren’t afraid to trade a little bit of paint with their competitors, know one place that they all want to go to – Bristol Motor Speedway.
Travis Kittleson will get that chance this Wednesday night, as he gets ready for his second career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event behind the wheel of the #07 Fans1st.com/Bob Steele Chevrolet/Universal Underwriters Group Chevrolet Silverado.
“It’s huge,” said Kittleson of his opportunity. “You see the most exciting races there. It’s a world famous short track – it’s small, tight and like a big cereal bowl. Everything
that you learn cutting your teeth in racing you can use there. I know that I’ll have some things to learn to adjust to the Truck Series, but it will be a relatively easy place to do that at.”
Kittleson has worked hard to earn a chance at the majors. He has beaten the best short track drivers in the county with his Super Late Model and has knocked on plenty of doors for the chance to showcase his skills in the major leagues of motorsports.
For the last two or three years, I’ve been walking the pits in khakis with an armful of resumes and business cards. Now, I’ll be going back with a firesuit and getting to drive out there. It’s hard to describe the feeling.”
Travis raced the #07 at Nashville. (TruckSeries.com photo)
When Kittleson made his Truck Series debut at Nashville Superspeedway, he finished a respectable 15th. He stayed out of trouble and on the lead lap for the entire race. Now, he is going to have to adjust to a whole new world.
“Going from Nashville, which is a 1.3-mile track, to Bristol is something. I was learning about aero tight and aero loose and now it’s off to a short track, where I learned to race. It’s tight racing on high banks. Things happen fast there.”
To help prepare for the high-banked, high-speed bullring, Kittleson has been doing plenty of physical conditioning.
“I’m going to do my best to try and stay in shape. I work out five days a week and try to run every day – at least up to a mile or so. People say that place really wears you out. They say it’s a half-mile, but I’ve walked that track plenty and it seems a lot bigger than New Smyrna [a short track in Florida where Kittleson won the 2006 Florida Speedweeks championship]. You don’t get much of a break running around Bristol, that’s for sure.”
The O’Reilly 200 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is set for Wednesday night. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel starting with a pre-race show at 8:30pm ET.
Travis Kittleson and R/T Racing is looking for marketing partners for their motorsports program. For inquiries, call the team at (321) 693-6700 and be sure to visit traviskittleson.com for more information.