TOLEDO, Ohio (March 13, 2018) -- With NASCAR in full go-mode every weekend, it may seem like an eternity in between ARCA's Daytona opener and the next one at Nashville. If it's too long for eager ARCA fans, it's just right for ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards teams preparing for the long season ahead.
Case in point: Travis Braden and the RFMS Racing team are juggling five cars inside their race shop in Brownsburg, Indiana. And right now, that team consists of three men -- Braden, crew chief Dan Glauz and car chief Casey Swift. It did not help when Braden, who was battling for the lead on the last lap at Daytona, was involved in a multi-car wreck.
"I'm heading down to Charlotte this week and pick it up," said Braden in reference to the car that got crashed.
"It needed a front clip; but other than that, the chassis was okay. The engine tried to come out of the car and the transmission ripped up the interior a little bit…but not too bad all things considered."
One down, four to go.
"We've also upgraded our short track car from last year…upgraded the chassis and had to reassemble it.
"Today, we're working on our primary and back-up cars for Nashville. Getting ready for the speedway car to come back so we can get it complete for Talladega. We're also working on our mile-and-a-half car for Charlotte. It's not a new car but freshly rebuilt. It's never been raced since it's been redone; but it's sitting there ready to be assembled. We also have my composite car here that I ran one time…we're prepared to use that if we need to. Probably take our two mile-and-a-half cars, pair the two up and pick the best one."
In other words, those three guys at RFMS Racing have their hands full to get ready for, not only Nashville, but the full-pull ahead.
"I've been here at the shop every day. I haven't been home since Christmas. We had the Gateway promotion we did…a few meetings; but it's been all about getting these cars ready."
With eyes on the full season, Braden also knows he's got to keep Nashville front and center.
"We're planning on it (to test this month)…there are a couple of dates on the table for that."
As a two-time ARCA/CRA Super Series champion, Braden should feel right at home at Nashville, although he's only got a few starts on the iconic short track at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.
"The All-American 400 and the Winchester 400 weekends are back to back. We were always running for CRA championships so we always concentrated on Winchester…didn't want to risk getting torn up at Nashville.
"I've only got a few starts (at Nashville); but the track fits my style. It's rough and worn out…something I like. It's got a lot of character…especially in one and two. Seems like there's only one line through there…someone's always trying to take it away from you or you're trying to take it from them.
"You use quite a bit of brake there…the corners seem tight. It's abrasive and I think that plays into my hands."
Despite the crash and disappointment at Daytona, Braden says the team is really happy with the overall progress.
"We were frustrated for a moment; but we had a chance to win Daytona, so you have to be happy about that. Between myself, Casey, Dan, Don (Fike/team owner), the sponsors, everyone was really happy, and that comes back to running so well."
Braden has been effective at "running so well."
The Wheeling, West Virginia native won consecutive ARCA/CRA Super Series championships in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, he won in his career-first ARCA Racing Series start at Lucas Oil Raceway. He also won the Winchester 400 in 2016 and finished second in 2014 and 2017. Braden is also a graduate of West Virginia University with two bachelors of science degrees, one in mechanical engineering and the other in aerospace engineering.
ARCA Nashville Fairgrounds Roots go back to 1959
Three-time ARCA national champion Nelson Stacy was ARCA's inaugural winner at Nashville in 1959. Other notable race winners/champions at Nashville include Jack Bowsher (ARCA champion), Don White (USAC Stock Car champion), Harold Smith (ARCA champion), Ramo Stott (ARCA champion), Moose Myers (ARCA champion), Marvin Smith (ARCA champion), David Green (NASCAR Xfinity champion) and 2015 ARCA champion Grant Enfinger. Chad Finley won last year's Music City 200. Other ARCA winners at Nashville include Andy Hampton, Red Farmer and Coo Coo Marlin, all of whom were track champions in their own locales. Nineteen-time ARCA winner Bob Schacht won three consecutive at Nashville in 1981, ’82 and ’83.
Hauler parking and Super Late Model practice is scheduled for Friday, April 6, while all racing festivities are set for Saturday, April 7 with practice beginning at 12 noon with qualifying following at 3 p.m. Racing begins at 5:45. General admission presale tickets are available for a $5 per ticket discount at https://market.myracepass.com/store/tickets/?i=1138614&store=17617 or by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.