“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck to duplicate the season we had last year,” 2006 Oswego Speedway / Beachland Cleaning Service / Novelis Supermodified Rookie of the Year Travis Bartlett said recently. “We’re hoping for a better season, but we know our work will be cut out for us, as there will be more cars, and competition wise, the bar will definitely be raised.”
Travis came out at the beginning of last year, as true rookie at Oswego Speedway. He had never turned any competitive laps on the fast 5/8’s, but did just what a rookie should do. He ran a consistent line, got quicker as the weeks went on, gained confidence from the front runners, and got much needed seat time. Another impressive thing the Mexico driver did was keep the 03 away from the wall all year long. “We finished every race but one last year, and that one we overheated,” Travis thought back.
That is old news though, as Travis and he TNT Team is full steam ahead as the 2007 is just a few short weeks away. When the gates swing open for 2007, look for Travis in a new set of wheels. “We just picked up the Carson 27,” he said as his voice picked up. “We got it a couple of weeks ago, and believe it or not, it’s almost race ready. We are working late nights, and we want to be there for the opening practice session. We‘re going over every inch of it with a fine tooth comb.”
“It’s an old Graves car,” he added. “There’s nothing really trick to it. Funny thing is, there isn’t a lot of Graves left in it. Every driver that has been in it, has their own little touches on it. They made changes to it, just like we are. One of the main things we’re doing is taking the Afco shocks off it, and putting on the Penske adjustable we had. We have a few ideas in the body that we’re going to try with it as well. The rear end may be changed, but we’re talking about that now. We’re not sure yet.”
“It’s a completely different car,” he added. “It is an equipment upgrade. We wanted to keep going and get more seat time, and this was the way to do it. We wanted to field a car and support the track and the division. This car was the best one out on the market. We didn’t need to make a lot of changes on the car to be competitive quickly.”
Off season talk about the Rookie of the Year had him slated to drive another car this year. While that isn’t going to happen right away, there is something to it. “I do have an Xtreme Chassis on order,” Travis added. “It won’t be ready this year. Paul makes everything himself, and the car just wasn’t going to be ready, between all his work out of town and making everything himself. We still have the car on order, but we wanted to race this year and not sit out. If we didn’t race this year, it would be like all of our work last year would have gone away. We wanted to keep going, and build on what we did last year.”
“Paul will be involved with this car,” Travis continued. “He knows this car, as he was involved with it in the past. He’s there to help us, and he’s going to help us with the car, as he has past knowledge with this machine.”
Travis picked up 5 top 10’s on his way to an eighth place finish in the point standings last year. “We did a lot of experimenting,” he thought back. “We were faster in the beginning, but we tried things and tried to gain speed. We finished every race but one, so we were happy with that.”
“This year, we’re coming back with Troy (Halsey),” he mentioned. “It’ll be fun to work with friends, and go after this. We enjoy working on the challenge of it. Supermodifieds are the epitome of a race car to me, and we just want to continue to grow and get better in the division. I have no illusions of going on to bigger things. Supermodifieds at Oswego Speedway is where I want to be. We want to be there weekly, field a good car, build on our season last year, run a professional team, and have a better season than last year. We want to be an asset to the supermodified division, the Oswego Speedway, and help the track in any way we can, be it represent them in appearances, or anything they need.”
Last year, Travis had designs of running some on the ISMA Tour, but those plans didn’t work out. This year, he still wants to run with a wing, and won’t have to travel far for that opportunity. “I think the MSA-Oswego wings deal is cool! I think it’s a great idea, and one of those that can really take off. The MSA is a good organization, and they are pretty much still in their infancy. They have a lot of really good teams, and it should be a lot of fun running with them. They have their own following, and it’s great to be part of something so exciting as this wings deal. It’s two top organizations working together, and I see nothing but success for this idea.”
Troy and Julie Halsey, Kyle Clark, Brian Kelly, Tyler Halsey, JD Hollywood, Dustin France and Mike Johnson will make sure the former Carson 27 is race ready come opening night. Amsoil, Dealmaker Auto Group, Marland Enterprises, Empire State Sealcoating, Rural Bolt Co., Luther’s Way Out Grafix and Hazzy’s Tavern once again return as sponsors of the second year driver.
Travis Bartlett is eager for the year to begin. His plans for the upcoming season changed recently, and they have been burning the midnight oil getting everything set for opening day. He is coming off a rookie of the year season, and has a new car under him for his sophomore season. He would like to build on his successful rookie year, and has the drive and desire to accomplish his goals.