Kittleson Tests Hickory, Concord, Will Run Big 10 SLM Race
So Kittleson and his Bob Steele Chevrolet are going to use the month to do plenty of racing, testing and even a little R&D.
“This off season I didn't race very much,” said Kittleson. “I raced in December at Ocala (FL), the Snowball Derby and in the last Big 10 race (in Concord, NC), but from January till early March, I was never in a race car and I can tell you I am never going to do that again. You need those laps you have to stay fresh.”
The month of April was pretty open for ASA points leader Travis Kittleson. With no ASA races and just a couple of open test sessions at the speedways, Travis knew it was up to him to keep himself fresh behind the wheel and keep his team on their toes so they can keep the ASA point lead from here on out.
The 24-year-old tested at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) on Wednesday, April 7, for the second time this year. He will also race his Super Late Model in the Big 10 Series race at Concord Motorsports Park (NC) this coming Saturday, for both fun and competition.
The test was more of an R&D session for the team to try several new things out on their car since the series no longer races at the tight, 3/8-mile track.
“When you go to a race track for a race, you better go with something that you know is going to work on the car,” said Kittleson. “You better be certain with what you have under you. You need to have something that you are confident is going to work and what you have as your backup and what you have as a backup for your backup. You don't have time to play with some of this stuff that you are drawing up, like R&D stuff.
“We've been working on some R&D stuff in the shop and we wanted to test it out on the track. You just don't have time to try it out on the race weekend because you don't have time.
“We learned a lot with our ASA car at Hickory. We just wanted to kick some ideas around. A couple of the setups ran pretty good. We still have some research to do on the others that didn't work. We just need to stay on top of the game. If you are resting, you are going to be falling behind because when you are resting, others will be working hard. You can't have that happening.”
It was the second time this year that the team has tested at Hickory, a historic Short Track that used to host ASA events, but no longer does.
“There are a couple reasons to choose Hickory to test. One thing is that it's a cheap place to rent. But the biggest and best thing about Hickory is the fact that it's a
demanding track. It demands your attention. It's hard to get a car going good there. If you get a car going good there, you can feel pretty good about yourself. It makes you appreciate the tracks that you thought were tough.”
Kittleson says it is important to stay on top of your game. With testing every weekend not a possibility, (although ASA has open tests at Kentucky Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway later this month), Kittleson is going to break out the old Super Late Model and take on some of the best in North Carolina this weekend when the Big 10 Series continues at Concord.
“It's Concord. That's a prestigious place. It's just around the heart of Charlotte. This is where some of the big boys may be. This is an off weekend for Cup, so they may be up watching. It would be nice to catch someone's eye.
Kittleson's test at Hickory was more for R&D than anything... and some of it worked.
“If you can get a car, any type of car, to run good at Concord, you did your homework. It is one of those tracks that have a pretty small window to be a top-five car. You can miss the top-five by a tenth and you may not be in the top-15. It is also like a big roller coaster because of the speed. I just love running there, so running the Super should be a lot of fun.
“You got the big motors, the power. The ASA cars are just a little lower on power, so it is nice to get into something that has a lot of power. You feel like you are almost in a go-kart compared to an ASA car.”
Travis raced with the Big 10 Series during last year's Asphalt World Championships.
Kittleson is not taking the focus off of his ASA championship hopes though. All the focus is still on the #30 Chevrolet.
“It's an off weekend in a pretty slow month and our speedway ASA car is ready to go, so we just decided to get the Super out and take it to Concord. The more we can work together as a team, the more laps I can get under my belt and the more we can communicate, the better we will be as a whole.
“We are lucky to be in the position that we are now, with the points lead. After last year though, I can tell you it is a hell of a lot easier to keep up with the points than to try and catch up. We just want to stay ahead of the game.”