DOVER, Del. (May 30, 2008) – Dover International Speedway is nicknamed “The Monster Mile” for a reason. The fast, high-banked, concrete track is tough for veterans and rookies alike. Colin Braun made his debut at Dover Friday in the AAA Insurance 200 and was not intimidated by “The Monster.” He skillfully held onto a loose truck in the final laps to claim an eighth-place finish.
Braun qualified 10th earlier in the day, which continued his streak of top-10 qualifying efforts. The truck was tight early in the race, but he remained 10th until he could pit for adjustments under caution on lap 52. The Con-way Freight team gave him four new tires, track bar and air pressure adjustments and sent him back out on track in 11th place.
After giving the truck a few laps to settle in Braun said the adjustments helped, but it was still a bit tight. He had worked his way up to ninth when race leader Kyle Busch brought out the caution when an oil line came loose on his truck on lap 96. Braun used the opportunity to pit for new tires and another track bar adjustment. A quick 16.4-second stop returned him back to the track in eighth place for the restart on lap 100.
With the race half over, the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 was getting faster. Braun was able to maintain eighth place and follow the veteran drivers to gain some experience along the way. When a caution came on lap 132 the team decided this was their chance to pit for one last adjustment for the end of the race. Braun came to pit road for four tires and a wedge adjustment. A few teams used different strategies concerning tires, so he was in 10th place for the restart on lap 136.
The last adjustment made the truck a bit too free, so Braun had to fight to keep the truck pointed straight every time he passed someone on the inside. A caution with 30 laps to go when Todd Bodine hit the wall moved Braun up to eighth place for the final restart on lap 179. He followed the single-file line for the last 21 laps to finish eighth. It was his third top-10 finish in eight races this season. Scott Speed won the race, his first in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
“It was a lot of fun,” Braun said. “I certainly learned a lot. It was a pretty challenging place for me being a rookie. I learned a lot out there every lap. It’s a place that can bite you pretty quick and certainly my crew chief, Mike Beam, did a great job today adjusting on our truck. We did four tires every time thinking tires were important. I guess Scott Speed probably won there on two tires. We thought four tires were important and that was the right decision for us.
“In the first couple of runs, we were pretty tight, so we kind of swung for the fence there at the end and freed it up. We got it very free at the end, that’s for sure. It was tough to run underneath people there at the end, so we kind of had to settle for what we had and just bring home a top 10, which we need for the points deal and the rookie title. I thought there in the middle if we could have hit the set-up right, we probably could have got a few of those guys, but you don’t get that every day. Certainly the more and more experience I get here at Dover, the better I can communicate back to my crew chief and we’ll have a better truck there at the end.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team gained one position and is now 14th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings. Braun continues to lead the rookie standings. The next race will be on Friday, June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. It will be live on SPEED at 9:00 p.m. (EDT).
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Travis Kvapil and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.