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Travis Braden Dual major in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Wheeling, West Virginia

The Boxer
Travis Braden, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Wheeling, always knew -- even before coming to West Virginia University, that he wanted to be a NASCAR driver. Braden is the 2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American National Rookie of the Year and 2012 ARCA/CRA Super Series Rookie of the Year. He's the points leader -- by nearly 100 -- in the ARCA/CRA 2013 championship race, as well. This season, he's even driving a car decked out in WVU's "Flying WV" logo and the University's colors. Next up: NASCAR? We'll see. 


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During the week, Travis is an engineering student. He studies and goes to class just like we all do. But, on the weekends, he drives a race car with the "Flying WV" against some of the toughest competitors in the world.

What is your career goal? Make it to the highest ranks of stock car racing.

When I'm 50, I will hopefully be either driving race cars or working as a racing team leader.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time? Rarely do I have this much free time. But, when I do, I love to ride ATVs or horses, or spend time with family and friends.

Where is your favorite view in West Virginia? Blackwater Falls, Coopers Rock and the New River Gorge.

What's your quote to live by?

Talent and potential mean nothing without perseverance.

Favorite Morgantown restaurant? D.P Dough.

Favorite movie? "Days of Thunder."

Favorite song of all time? "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

Fictional character who is most like you? Wile E Coyote.

If you could only visit one more place on campus, where would you go? Blaney House, because I love the overlook of the city from there.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? The moon. I think there would be no better view than that of our planet from a few hundred miles up.

If you were to title your own autobiography, what would it be? Travis Braden: The guy who did what everyone said couldn’t be done. (Referring to my racing career on extremely low budget, and going to school on top of that)

What couldn’t you live without? Sight. I cannot imagine living a life without being able to see. There are so many great things that are a blessing to be able to see in person. 

Most valuable skill you have? Improvising.

Person you’ve met during your time here who has had the biggest impact on you? Hard to pin it down to just one. My parents, as well as both of my last two crew chiefs, have definitely been the most influential in shaping who I am today.


Why did you choose to come to WVU? HUGE career opportunities, close to home but not too close, close to racing, has the major I desired and a beautiful campus.

Why is WVU special to you? I have been a Mountaineer since birth.  WVU is more than just a school - it is a community of all Mountaineers past, present and future.

What's the favorite class you've taken at WVU?  Dynamics. It is considered by most engineering students to be the hardest course, and I love challenges. I enjoyed the topics at hand and found many of them helpful in my racing career, as well.

Who was your favorite professor? Wade Huebsch.

What’s the most challenging course you took? Dynamics (MAE 242).

What class did you learn the most from? Dynamics (MAE 242), and Fluid Mechanics (MAE 331).

What is WVU's hidden gem nobody knows about? I would say it is now President Gee. He is a very interesting and fun character, and brings a lot to the table in terms of social outreach and media focus and whatnot.

What's your most memorable moment at WVU?

Coming back to Morgantown after my first win with the 'Flying WV' on my race car. I was welcomed and congratulated by many people in person, via phone and via social media. I felt like I was sharing some extra WVU pride outside of the normal sports.

What advice would you give to a student thinking of coming to WVU?Do it. You won’t regret it, and you won’t find any place better. Just don’t goof off too much and flunk out.

When I'm on campus, you can most likely find me  in class/on campus, or at my apartment doing coursework or work for the race team.

When you come to visit campus, you must visit Coopers Rock, downtown, the rail trail and the Blaney House.

Where do you do your best studying? At my leisure in my apartment with the TV or music on low.

What advice would you give for surviving finals? If you work hard all semester and keep up with every bit of work, you will find that you hardly even need to study for finals to get a good grade on the final and in the overall course grade.

What's your proudest accomplishment while at WVU? So far, I have finished two of four semesters  with a 4.0. There is no better feeling after a long 16 weeks of hard work.

Best thing about college life? You can do what you want and figure out what works best for you without anyone else trying to shape that (unless you let them). These four years determine what kind of person you will be the rest of your life.

Worst thing about college life?It is so time consuming. It sometimes seems like it is just putting you four years behind in life.

How has WVU changed you? I have gained many leadership and networking skills.

What do you look forward to most as an alum? Carrying on the “WVU grad” stat with me throughout my career. I hope to be the first WVU grad to compete in a NASCAR race.

Has WVU had an impact on your passion? Extremely, yes. WVU has not only allowed me to continue my passion while school but has embraced it with open arms and actually done many things to help me chase after my passion of racing.

If you could do one thing differently in your time at WVU, what would it be? Take summer online classes earlier. I could have had a much easier workload during regular semesters.

What will you miss most about WVU? EVERYTHING!

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