So far, so good for the full-time Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering student at West Virginia University (WVU).
“We couldn’t be happier,” said Braden. “We hoped for it, but we couldn’t have expected the success we’ve had right off the bat. We have a lot of hard working guys here that want to see this thing go, so our success is certainly a testament to the crew who makes this thing happen.”
Braden tested here at Kentucky on Tuesday, and was fifth overall among the 25 drivers that posted time and speed.
“Even if this deal (the race tonight) doesn’t come out as good as we had hoped, we’ve already showed that we’ve got the speed in the car and that Indy was no fluke. As you would expect, when you run a speedway for the first time, you spend much of the day getting yourself comfortable in the car…then you start working on the car more. We got faster all day on one set of tires, and we were really happy with it. Made some more changes to the car since the test that we didn’t have time for on Tuesday.”
Braden had to fit the test into an already busy week at WVU where the Wheeling, West Virginia driver is in his fourth-year as an engineering student.
“Had a test last night…it went very well. It was relatively easy for a fourth-year class.” ‘Relatively easy’ if you find a Space Flight Systems/Orbital Mechanics class simple that is.
Braden earned the ARCA/CRA Super Series championship in 2013 and 2014, and was Rookie of the Year in 2012. As a result, he gained the opportunity to participate in ARCA’s “Road to Daytona” program, which allows the ARCA/CRA Super Series and ARCA Midwest Tour champions to test in the annual ARCA test at Daytona.
“We actually got to test at Daytona three times,” Braden continued. “The first year that ARCA did that…in 2012, they allowed the Rookie of the Year to test, then we won the championship in ’13 and ’14, so we actually got to test three years in a row. It was the greatest thing. What a great program.”
Braden is on track to make his Daytona debut in 2016.
“That’s the plan…to race Daytona. We’re actually working a plan to do at least 12 ARCA races next year. Looking at doing all the television races…those are always the ones that sponsors are most interested in. So shoring that up first would be step one. We’re trying.”
Braden’s crew chief is Tony Furr, who spent years as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief for a variety of drivers, including Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte, John Andretti (won July race at Daytona), JJ Yeley, Greg Sacks and more.
Braden will be driving the same car at Kentucky that he won with at Lucas Oil Raceway.
“We bought two cars…this one’s a Hendrick Motorsports car. Chase Elliott drove this car in ARCA.”
Braden’s car at Kentucky is sponsored by WVU, Platinum Express, Inc. and Matheson Gases.
At present, a full field of 36 drivers are entered for the 22nd running of the Crosley Brands 150.
Practice for the Crosley Brands 150 is Friday afternoon, September 25 from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00, followed by Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 4:40. The Crosley Brands 150 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 8:00.
In addition to Live Timing and Scoring at arcaracing.com
of all on-track activities, the Crosley Brands 150 is live on FOX Sports 1 Friday night at 8:00 p.m.