Wheeling native Travis Braden drove his old gold and blue West Virginia University-sponsored Chevrolet Impala to victory lane last year in his first ever ARCA Series start at Lucas Oil Raceway. He then drove that same car to a second-place finish at Kentucky Speedway and a sixth-place finish at Kansas Speedway.
This Friday, Braden is set to make his fourth-career ARCA Series start at Michigan Int’l Raceway in the Corrigan Oil 200. Braden, who tested at the track back in May, believes his No. 01 Platinum Express-sponsored car carrying the Flying WV on its hood will compete for the win.
“Our test at Michigan last month went very well,” said Braden. “We looked to be a top five car — very similar to what we looked like last season when we practiced at Kentucky and Kansas. So with that, I feel like we just have to make no mistakes and avoid any accidents and we should be in contention to win by the end of the race.”
Driving a car featuring the logo of the university in which he attends as an engineering student in his home state makes the opportunity to compete at such a high level even more meaningful for Braden and his fan base, now known as Braden Nation.
“I feel a lot of pride carrying the Flying WV on my car,” he said. “I know that I have a huge family of fans right there who are pulling for me no matter what. It is very uncommon for a private entity like myself/my race team to be able to carry a brand like we are. There is a lot of responsibility that goes with it.”
Though Braden’s car still carries the Flying WV, his race team is in serious need of more sponsorship. The WVU senior hopes that he’ll be able to nab more sponsors by bringing home another top-five finish or maybe even collecting his second-career win this week.
“We really want to run about four or five more of these races,” Braden said. “Those being the events on larger tracks because I need that experience and also because they are aired on large TV networks. At this point, we do not have the sponsorship to run races after Michigan. Every little bit helps and we are gaining more and more support every day from sponsors, so hopefully by the end of the year we will have put together enough to run at least a handful of ARCA races!”
You can watch Braden and the Flying WV contend in the Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan Int’l Raceway this Friday, June 10 on FS1. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. EDT.
Cover Image Credit: @travisbraden/Instagram