Travis Braden Leads "Little Team that Could" to Fourth in Final ARCA Menards Series Standings

Travis Braden Leads "Little Team that Could" to Fourth in Final ARCA Menards Series Standings

Everyone knows the story of the little engine that could. A train needs to get over an untoppable mountain, and while other, bigger engines couldn’t pull the train over the hill, the littlest engine, the one with the most determination gathered all his might to get the train over the top.

The ARCA Menards Series version of that story would undoubtedly be Travis Braden and RFMS Racing.

That Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford), a two-time champion of the ARCA/CRA Super Series late model tour, finished fourth in the final championship standings, isn’t necessarily a surprise. He’s proven to be a capable driver, based on his late model record alone. He also has shown to be competitive in the ARCA Menards Series, winning in his series debut at Lucas Oil Raceway driving for a family-owned team in 2015. He also finished fifth in the series standings in 2018.

The back-to-back top-five finishes in the series’ championship standings both are an impressive accomplishment because RFMS Racing is, literally, the little team that could.

Competing against bigger organizations based in the Charlotte area with a dozen or more full-time employees, the Don Fike-owned team is based in Brownsburg, Indiana and had, at the close of the season, just two full-time employees. Braden not only drives the racecars, but he puts his mechanical engineering degree to use in maintaining and prepping the cars. Casey Swift, the car chief and general mechanic, is the team’s other full-time employee.

Adding veteran NASCAR crew chief Jim Long to the roster on race weekends to lead the team and call the races from the pit box certainly bolstered the team’s efforts.

Although the team didn’t have the raw speed as others, they used their trademark consistency to stay in the hunt throughout the season. Braden led the series standings twice in the first third of the season as others fought consistency issues of their own, and eventually settled into fourth in the final third of the season.

Sixteen top-ten finishes, including a trio of top-five finishes, proved that the Little Team that Could indeed could compete. Braden knocked off a season-best fourth-place finish at Madison and then backed it up with a fifth-place finish at Chicagoland. Intermediate tracks, like Chicagoland, should in theory be a struggle for smaller teams like RFMS Racing, but Braden proved the Chicagoland run was no fluke by backing it up with another fifth-place finish in the season finale at Kansas.

A solid 10.3 average starting position was bested by an 8.3 finish. As he did last year, Braden also showed he can complete races without tearing up his equipment. He was swept into a crash not of his making at Toledo, ending his day 75 laps short of the finish. Throughout the remaining 19 races, Braden finished on the lead lap ten times and only failed to complete 22 laps.

ARCA’s 67th season will come to a close when Christian Eckes will officially be crowned the 36th ARCA Menards Series champion on Saturday, December 14 at the Championship Banquet held at the Indiana State Convention Center, held annually in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show. Tickets to the black tie gala, which are also available to the general public, will go on sale on Monday, October 28.

Comments
RobbyG83

Congrats on a good season Travis...anything is possible if you put your mind,heart & passion into it...