Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Travis Kvapil

Travis Kvapil was born on March 1st 1976 in Janesville, Wisconsin. After helping in his father’s garage growing up, Kvapil began to take interest in the speed and thrill of racing. Kvapil first started racing at the age of 16 at Rockford Speedway in Rockford, Illinois. By age 18 Kvapil had won the American Short Tracker division track championship at Rockford. Kvapil pointed out in a NASCAR.com interview that his step-father was a big influence in his younger racing days, stating that “We worked side by side from when I started at the age of 16 until I started in the truck series when I was 24. We went to the racetrack together every Friday and Saturday night.”

In 1995 Kvapil began racing at the Madison International Raceway in the Super Late Model Series where he won the Rookie of the Year Title. In his sophomore year, 1996, Kvapil became the youngest winner of the Super Late Model championship at Madison. In all his years at Madison, Kvapil won 5 feature races.

In 2001 Kvapil made his NASCAR Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series racing debut with Addington Racing and CAT Rental Stores. Kvapil’s success went above and beyond expectations, finishing in the top ten in 18 of the seasons 24 races, with an average finish of 7.6, resulting in a 4th place finish in the final point standings in his rookie year. He also gained his very first NASCAR Series win at the Texas Motor Speedway, eventually winning the Rookie of the Year in the series. In this year Kvapil also entered his first NASCAR Busch (Nationwide) Series race with team owner Richard Childress and Rockwell Automation, starting third and finishing 28th after crashing.

The next year, 2002, Kvapil continued to race in the Trucks in the #60 Addington Racing CAT Rental Stores Chevrolet and with a shortened schedule in the series with only 22 races Kvapil only managed 14 top tens while still managing a 11th place average finish throughout the entire season. He also got his second career win at Memphis, Tennessee, after dominating, leading 117 of the 200 laps.

2003 saw a career shift happen for Kvapil as he moved to Steve Coulter’s team, Xpress Motorsports, running with sponsorship from IWX Motor Freight in his #16 Chevrolet. This move paid positive dividends for Kvapil and the team as he posted 22 top tens out of 25 races, with no finish outside of the top 18, including a win at Bristol, 3 poles, and completing every lap but one in the season. This huge success gave Kvapil the NASCAR Craftsman (Camping World) Trucks Series championship, making him the youngest driver to win the title up until that point in the Series.

At the beginning of 2004 Kvapil ran the first American Speed Association race at the Madison International Raceway, where he won a track championship just eight years previously. In the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series Kvapil made yet another team switch, this time moving to the Alexander Meshkin’s Bang! Racing Toyota with Line-X Bedliners as his primary sponsor. This season was completed with 2 wins (Loudon and Michigan, Toyota’s first in NASCAR competition), along with ten top 10’s and a solid 8th place points finish. But an important milestone in Kvapil’s career came when he signed on to race in the NASCAR Nextel (Sprint) Cup Series for Roger Penske in four of the last five races of the season, driving his #06 Mobil 1/Jasper Dodge. Kvapil got off to an incredible start, qualifying 5th  in his first race for Penske at Martinsville. But the remaining four races of his schedule were mediocre, finishing only once on the lead lap, and failing to qualify for Darlington.

2005 was Kvapil’s first year driving the #77 Kodak Dodge for Jasper Motorsports in cooperation with Penske Racing in the NASCAR Nextel (Sprint) Cup Series, replacing driver Brendan Gaughan. He finished a only two races in the top ten after experiencing seven DNF’s and ended his year with a finish of 33rd in the points standings. Near the end of 2005, Penske-Jasper Racing announced that Kodak would be scaling back their sponsorship for 2006 to just a part-time role with Kurt Busch’s new ride in the #2, which led to automatic free-agent status for Travis Kvapil.

Kvapil was picked up by PPI racing’s Cal Wells to race in the #32 Tide/Downy Chevrolet for the 2006 season. This move resulted in Kvapil finishing 36th  in driver’s points standings after failing to qualify for four races in his sophomore year in the Nextel (Sprint) Cup Series

After two relatively unsuccessful years in the Cup Series, Kvapil took a year off from Cup and ran an entire Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series schedule in 2007 with Jack Roush in the K&N Filters #6 Ford. In this year teamed with Roush, Kvapil won four races, and finished 6th in the final driver’s standings after only failing to complete 30 laps through the duration of the season.

Kvapil’s impressive run with Roush in 2007 led to a contract with the newly reformed Ford team, Yates Racing, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008. It was announced that the Yates group would be resurrecting the legendary #28 which was previously driven by the likes of Fred Lorenzen, Cale Yarborough, Donnie, Bobby, and Davey Allison, Buddy Baker, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, and Ricky Rudd, just to name a few. Driving the #28 with many sponsors, Kvapil managed to qualify for every race, even winning his first and only pole at Talladega in October, and finish 23rd in the points.

Coming into the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Kvapil had a guaranteed starting position in the first five races of the year due to his great showing in the point standings in 2008. These promised starts led to sponsorship from Golden Corral and Farmer’s Insurance for a few races, but Yates Racing decided to hand the #28’s points over to Paul Menard in the #98 because of his promised full-season sponsorship through his father’s Menards stores. So once the first five races was over, with only two top 20’s and two 42nd place finishes along with a DNQ at Las Vegas, the #28 team was shut down to maintain focus on Paul Menard’s sponsored team in the final year of Yates Racing existence. Due to Kvapil being out at Yates Racing, he was able to race a single race with Robby Benton and Zaxby’s in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in which he finished, 11th, in what would be his final Nationwide Series start to date. Later in the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Kvapil raced twice with the newly formed Front Row Motorsports under Bob Jenkins’ ownership, this two-race stint led to a contract for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

In 2010 Kvapil had a contract with Front Row Motorsports, the team that had just finished expanding from one part-time team to three full-time teams, adding David Gilliland as Kvapil’s full-time teammate. In this year with this new team with limited funds, Kvapil qualified for all but two races, while earning eight top-25’s and finishing 33rd in points in this fairly accomplished season. Kvapil said before the beginning of the 2010 season “I feel more comfortable in the new car than the old one; the new car has less downforce, meaning it’s not stuck to the track as much as the old one. It has the feel of the truck, so with my experience in the truck series, I like the way the new car handles.”

Due to Kvapil finishing in the top 35 in owners points in 2010 with Front Row Motorsports, he was locked into the first five races in 2011. But after crashing out of the first two races and finishing in the last third of the field in the next three races, he was no longer locked in for 2011 and by the end of the season Kvapil missed 3 races, with his best finish being 16th at the October race in Martinsville. Kvapil’s Sprint Cup performance was not for points this year, because NASCAR implemented a new rule requiring a driver to choose their series to which their points will be totaled, and Kvapil chose the Camping World Truck Series. In the Camping World Truck Series Kvapil raced the first 10 races of the season for Randy Moss with two top tens, but even though he was sitting 18th in the points, Randy Moss Motorsports and Germain Racing partnered up to keep Todd Bodine in a ride, which knocked Kvapil out of a ride for the remainder of the season.

The 2011 silly season saw David Regan get released from his prestigious ride at Roush-Fenway Racing and replace Travis Kvapil at Front Row Motorsports, which put Kvapil in a precarious position just months from the start of the season. But just a few weeks before the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season began, several businessmen came together and purchased the assets of the closed Red Bull Racing team and formed a team called BK Racing, named after their primary sponsor, Burger King. The BK Racing group decided Kvapil, Landon Cassill, and David Reutimann would be who they wanted to drive their #83 and #93 Toyota’s for the 2012 season.

Once the 2012 season finally came to a start, Kvapil was forced to sit out of the Daytona 500, due to Reutimann’s part-time ride at BK Racing being in Kvapil’s #93 during the races that he was not running for the Tommy Baldwin/Stewart-Hass owned #10 car. Kvapil took over the #93 car at Pheonix and finished out the season 27th in points. Kvapil also raced with Robby Benton in the Camping World Truck series for one race at Daytona and finished an impressive fourth.

2013 has been a challenge for the still young BK Racing which has resulted in Kvapil having 4 DNF’s after 12 races and no finishes on the lead lap, and the team residing in 35th in the points standings (As of May 28th, 2013).

Kvapil currently resides with his wife Jennifer and three kids Kelsey, Carson, and Caden in Mooresville, North Carolina, in the heart of NASCAR country.

Travis Kvapil - Official Website

BK Racing Driver Profile - Travis Kvapil

Madison Night of Champions

Todd Bodine Replaces Travis Kvapil (2011)

Kvapil's Return With Bob Jenkins (2010)

Madison Speedway Past Champions List