NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2008 NASCAR Driver Review: Travis Kvapil

Travis Kvapil

2008 Ride: No. 28 Yates Racing Ford
2008 Primary Sponsor: No full-time primary; multiple sponsors throughout the season in one- to six-race deals
2008 Owners: Doug Yates, Max Jones
2008 Crew Chief: Todd Parrott
2008: Stats: 36 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 4 top 10s, 1 pole, 23rd in points

High Point: Kvapil achieved his best finish of the year at a place a lot of drivers loathe – Talladega Superspeedway. He followed that up with a pole-winning run when the series visited the 2.66-mile oval again in October, showcasing Yates Racing remains a threat at restrictor-plate tracks – their last win came at Talladega with Dale Jarrett in 2005.

Low Point: Unfortunately, Kvapil was unable to capitalize on his one and only pole of the season. Involved in one of those inevitable Talladega wrecks, he finished 27th in the fall after the Big One on lap 174. It wasn’t Kvapil’s worst finish of the year; but considering how confident he was after his first career pole and leading a season-high 10 laps, it had to hurt.

Summary: The 2008 season wasn’t a huge success for Kvapil, but it was his best points finish in three full-time seasons in the Cup Series (he drove for Penske in 2005 and PPI Motorsports in 2006). After a rough start to the season with finishes of 30th and 36th, Kvapil scored an eighth at Las Vegas the next week to right the ship, and was mostly able to keep himself out of trouble for the reminder of the year. In fact, the No. 28 team got as high as 18th in points prior to midseason before dropping a bit in the second half.

Kvapil managed to earn a few top 10s and win a pole, but was not quite able to break into the top five – although not for lack of trying. While his season was also full of a lot of mediocre runs, there are some out there this year that would have been happy to have this season, and the four top 10s were a career-high. Kvapil also managed to complete all but two races in 2008, giving the team a solid foundation to build on for 2009.

Team Ranking: First out of two teams for Yates Racing.

Off-Track News: While he may lead a relatively quiet off-track life with his wife and three kids, Kvapil continued to donate his time to several charities (mainly those involving children) including many in his hometown of Janesville, Wis. But most important for Kvapil is spending time with his kids, helping with their sports team, birthday parties, etc. and being dad. Many fans will also tell you that he’s someone who will go out of his way to talk to them, letting them know how important they are to him.

2009 Outlook: Kvapil will continue driving the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford in 2009, as a teammate to David Gilliland and new Yates Racing driver Paul Menard. There were rumors that his 2008 crew chief, Todd Parrott, would not return, and that there would be a “shakeup” of the crews for the coming year. However, recent reports state that Parrott is staying with Yates and Kvapil for the 2009 season.

Having one year under his belt at the No. 28, continuing with his one-time championship crew chief, and having up to two teammates to draw from, you have to believe that next year will be a better year for Kvapil. A championship run may not be in the cards for 2009, and even a win may be a surprise for many, but do expect to see a more determined Kvapil step it up and crank out more top fives and top 10s – all while settling into his role as the top driver at Yates for the second year in a row.

2006 Frontstretch Grade: D
2007 Grade: N/A
2008 Grade: C

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