May 31, 2009 10:33 AM

Blown Tire Dashes Braun’s Chance of Victory in Dover

DOVER, Del. (May 30, 2009) –  For the second race in a row Colin Braun had victory lane in his sights.  With only 15 laps to go in the race, Braun took the lead when Kyle Busch suffered a tire issue.  The very next lap as he drove into turn three, Braun heard a pop and the Con-way Freight Ford F-150 was in the wall which resulted in a 22nd-place finish.

For the third time in only seven races, the Camping World Truck Series race at Dover was postponed by rain.  Starting 25 hours later than planned, Braun took the green flag on the outside front row in second place.  The team knew tire management would be critical as tire wear was an issue during practice on Thursday for most teams.  The truck was loose in the center of the turns early in the race so Braun was cautious and settled into fourth place.

Several teams pitted on lap 35 when point leader Ron Hornaday blew a tire and hit the wall.  With a mandatory competition caution at lap 45, crew chief Mike Beam elected to have Braun wait to pit during that caution.  He came to pit road for four tires on lap 47 and the Con-way Freight team fired off a quick 15-second stop.  He returned for fuel and a wedge adjustment the next lap and ended up 14th for the restart on lap 52 since not everyone pitted.

It did not take long for Braun to work his way back toward the front.  He was up to ninth by lap 65 and was seventh by the halfway point on lap 100.  The truck had become tight in the center so the crew made another wedge adjustment during a stop on lap 103.  Braun was also losing downforce since part of his front splitter had broken, but the team could not repair that during a normal caution.

Braun cracked the top five on lap 131.  When a caution came out for debris on lap 135 the team used that opportunity to pit for right-side tires.  Since they had enough fuel to finish the race Braun did not have to pit a second time which gave him the lead on lap 136.  He led for four laps until Brian Scott passed him on the restart.  As Kyle Busch assumed the lead again, Braun got back into second and remained there over 40 laps.

With a significant lead it seemed Busch would easily win the race.  Braun remained second until Busch came to pit road with a tire issue with 16 laps to go.  It looked as though Braun was on his way to his first win until the next lap when he suffered the same fate.  Scott went on to get his first career win in the truck series.

“I was amazed how fast our Con-way Freight Ford was with the amount of laps we had on the tires and the fact part of our splitter was missing,” Braun said.  “When Kyle had to pit I really thought it was our race to win.  Then as I drove into turn three I heard a loud pop and was in the wall before I could do anything.  That is two races in a row I thought we had a great shot to win, and two races in a row that it slipped away from us. 

“The bright side is that we’ve put ourselves in position to win and eventually our luck is going to turn around and we’re gonna be there to get it.  I guess you have to come close a few times before it actually happens.”

The No. 6 Con-way Freight team fell one position and is now 20th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings.  The next race will be on Friday, June 5 at Texas Motor Speedway.  It will be live on SPEED at 9:00 p.m. (ET).

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