LAS VEGAS, Nev. (September 20, 2008) – Just a few days shy of his 20th birthday, Colin Braun thought the best gift he could get was a top-five finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. It looked as though his wish had come true until he got caught in an accident coming off the final turn on the last lap of the race, resulting in a 12th-place finish.
Braun started the 146-lap race on the front row after qualifying second earlier in the day. The Con-way Freight Ford F-150 was loose early in the race, especially in the center of the turns. He had dropped back to sixth by the time the second caution of the race came on lap 25. Crew chief Mike Beam called Braun to pit road for right-side tires, fuel and to drop the track bar. With a quick stop the team gained track position and restarted fourth on lap 29.
The truck got better the longer Braun ran and by lap 62 he moved into third place. Only a few laps later a caution came on lap 66 when race and point leader Johnny Benson blew a right-front tire. Braun brought the No. 6 to the pits for four tires and another track bar adjustment. After a 15.6-second stop he was fourth when the race resumed on lap 71.
By the next lap he was back up to third place and said the truck was now a little tight. After another 20 laps he said the truck was free in the center, but tight up and off the corners. A caution on lap 98 brought him to pit road for the final time of the night. Beam called for right-side tires, wedge and air pressure adjustments to finish out the race. With various pit strategies going on, Braun returned to the track in sixth place for the restart on lap 102.
Six cautions slowed the final 44 laps of the race, but Braun moved back into third place behind his Roush Fenway teammate Erik Darnell and Mike Skinner by lap 115. Throughout all the restarts Beam reminded Braun to be cautious to get a good finish. The final caution came with five laps to go. By the time the track was clear, the green flag came out on lap 146 for a green, white, checker finish. Braun was still in third place and planned to ride out the last two laps there until the finish. Unfortunately as the checkered flag flew with Skinner beating Darnell to the finish line, Braun came out of turn four and got hit by a truck inside of him which put him into the wall. His wrecked truck skidded across the finish line in 12th place.
“I don’t even really know what happened,” Braun said. “I was coming off the corner and the next thing I knew I was turned around sideways, wrecking on the front straightaway. I’m real disappointed for my Con-way Freight team. We really had a fast truck, but all the cautions at the end really hurt us. We were way better on the long runs. It’s disappointing that it didn’t go green for longer. We were hoping to bring home a top-three finish and call it a day.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team moved up one position to 14th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings, and Braun continues to lead the rookie standings. The next race will be on Saturday, October 4 at Talladega Superspeedway. It will be live on SPEED at 3:00 p.m. (ET).