Travis Kittleson Takes Sixth In First Pro Cup Outing of 2008
Young Driver Wastes Little Time Getting Up to Speed with JCR3 Team at Lakeland
Usually it takes a little bit of time for a new combination of driver and race team to mesh with each other. After a few races, they might be competitive together, but even the best teams and most talented drivers typically have a learning curve.
If that is true of Travis Kittleson and the JCR3 team, then their other competitors in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series might want to watch out. Kittleson made his debut in the JCR3 #54 entry in Saturday night’s Pro Cup event at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida, and immediately the combination was competitive. He was near the top of the speed charts in each practice, qualified sixth and finished in the sixth position at the conclusion of the Sears Auto Center 200.
And most importantly, there is still room for improvement as the season goes on.
“That was a pretty good start to the year,” said Kittleson. “I think that we probably showed everyone that we’re going to be a contender. I’m still new to the team and they are learning what my style is; we’ve got two new cars where we have to still find the sweet spot on and we have a few minor things to work with. So to come out finishing sixth and to run as well as we did is one hell of a start to the year. Once we get to gelling, there should be no reason why we aren’t a threat to win week in and week out.”
Making the debut even sweeter for Kittleson was the fact that it occurred in his home state and in front of about 90 employees, guests and customers of his long-time sponsor, Bob Steele Chevrolet.
“It felt really good to race in front of them,” said Kittleson. “I only ran four races last year, so they were eager to come out and support us; that really made me feel good. At driver
Kittleson's #54 gets a bump from Caleb Holman (#75 at Lakeland. (Kathy Bond Photo)
introductions, they were cheering, yelling and clapping. That was great. Their support means a lot to me. It’s been eight years, going on nine, since Bob Steele Chevrolet has supported me. You don’t hear much of that these days, so it is so great to have someone like that backing me.”
Next up on the Pro Cup schedule is the April 29th event at South Georgia Motorsports Park. Kittleson has never raced at that facility before, but did stop by to check it out on his way from the JCR3 shops in North Carolina to USA International Speedway.
“I went there on the way to Lakeland,” said Kittleson. “We were going to test there, but it was too wet, so I’ll have to go there pretty green. It’s going to be a heads-up race. It looks to be a tight little track with one groove. It looks like you can probably make the bottom work, but it will be tough. I watched some videos from the team to study up, and it looks like it will be a good Saturday night short track race.”
The USAR Pro Cup Series event at South Georgia Speedway is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 29th.