Many athletes dream of going to the college they love, and suiting up in the colors that are near and dear to their heart. Wheeling Native Travis Braden is no exception. Each weekend he dawns old gold and blue, but his sport may surprise you.
"Racing is a tough sport, not many make it," said Braden. "Just because there is a limited availability of drivers that can make it."
Travis Braden is just one of many who dream to one day race a stock car. He is one of a few to have that dream become a reality. Those dreams started in go-karts and flourish now in ARCA, a NASCAR stepping stone.
"When you win at each level, you feel like 'I've succeed here,'" he said. "So you want to go to the next step and see if I can beat those guys. My goal is to go as far as I can."
In 2012 he won the ARCA-Championship Racing Association Rookie of the Year. In 2013 he sits as the series' points leader.
"This year we started with a goal of winning races, at least one," he said. "But I knew if we could win one we could win more, and we've already one two this year. I think it's been a product of just everything coming together."
Weekends are for racing, weekdays are for school.
Braden doesn't just represent WVU at the track, in the fall he'll be a Sophomore studying engineering.
"I like engineering," Braden said. "It pertains a lot to the technology in racing. I've just found a way, even through high school, to enjoy school enough so I can be away and rushed on time, and still be able to succeed in school and on the track."
Like Braden many drivers start as kids on local tracks hoping to follow a path to success.
While not every driver is the next Jimmie Johnson, maybe the next Travis Braden is reading this now.
"Don't give up on everything else, but enjoy it is fun and it one of those things that you'll work hard it, you'll want to win, and you will succeed at some point," said Braden. "I just encourage everyone that wants to race cars, or go karts at a local track to go do it, go try to do it and have fun."