After Two Top Tens to Start 2019, Travis Braden Sitting Second in ARCA Menards Series Standings

After Two Top Tens to Start 2019, Travis Braden Sitting Second in ARCA Menards Series Standings

Former ARCA/CRA Super Series champion Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford) has had a solid, in unspectacular, start to the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season. And that’s been the way the Wheeling, West Virginia driver wants it. For now.

Braden was involved in a late-race crash while battling for the win in the 2018 season opener at Daytona that resulted in writing off a race car. The crash not only hurt him in the points, but it put the team behind for much of the season as the close-knit Don Fike-owned RFMS team struggled to rebuild a racecar while getting prepared for other races as well.

Braden’s approach to this season’s Daytona event was drastically different. He stayed out of trouble and came home with his racecar in one piece, and just as important, an eighth-place finish. The team also didn’t have to rebuild a racecar and could therefore give 100 percent focus to the next race on the schedule at Five Flags Speedway.

Braden and team came out of Five Flags with their second consecutive top ten finish, and they head to the next race on the schedule at Salem Speedway on April 14 second in the series standings.

“I think we are getting so close to getting up there with those guys,” Braden said. “If you compare to last season, this was still a relatively strong run for us on a short track. Especially when you consider that it was a new track, we only got one round of practice to get it right, and a lot of the other top ten teams had tested there numerous times. I was proud of the effort, and I felt like we just needed to catch a break to get a caution before going a lap down. After the first caution and our pit stop, we were able to make some adjustments that had us well into the top ten in terms of speed. We just couldn't ever get our lap back.”

Heading into the second short track race of the season second in the championship standings is a big change from where Braden was last season, a welcome change that has instilled a lot of confidence.

“I'm ecstatic about where we are,” he said. “These first two races were on my mind all off-season as "the two" that could make or break us.  I really felt like the first two races of 2018 doomed our chances at a top three in the championship right from the start. Now that we are focused on race number three and the stretch of races during the Summer in such good position, I have a ton of confidence that we will pick away at that points lead and start to really put pressure on in this championship.”

Despite a trying night at Five Flags, Braden’s Dan Glausz-led team came away with some hard-earned information and data that will help going forward, starting at Salem.

“We've worked tirelessly on our cars this winter to make gains,” Braden said, with specific emphasis on the word tirelessly. “We were able to finally truly test those changes for the first time, and the results were very positive. Now we can just settle in, tweak our stuff every race, and get in a rhythm. At this point in 2018 we were sort of scratching our heads. Now we're sort of chomping at the bit. That is going to be key. Confidence is everything in this game!”

Braden returns to action in the ARCA Menards Series in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 at Salem Speedway. Practice is set for 11 am ET on Saturday, April 13, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 3 pm ET. The 200-lap race is slated for Sunday, April 14 and will go green shortly after 2 pm ET. It will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCA for Me members can follow live timing & scoring throughout all on-track sessions at New members can register for free by providing a valid email address at



Jessica Ballard

oh yeah!


Go get'em at salem.