KANSAS CITY, Ks. (April 26, 2008) – Colin Braun had never raced at Kansas Speedway until Saturday, but nobody would know that based on his performance. The 19-year-old rookie ran up front with the veterans all day to earn his best career finish in the Craftsman Truck Series with a third-place finish.
After posting the second-fastest time during both practice sessions on Friday, Braun qualified his No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 sixth to start the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250. His truck was tight off the corners early in the race, but he worked his way up to fifth by the first caution on lap 27. He pitted for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments to help the handling. The crew had a quick stop which helped him maintain his fifth-place position.
By lap 34 he moved into third place and told the team the truck was still a bit tight, but much better after the adjustments. He remained in third until pitting for fuel during a caution on lap 53. He returned to the track in fifth place and when the race resumed the truck was still tight off the corners.
With several cautions throughout the race Braun was able it pit for tires and more adjustments on lap 67. The crew had a great 15.3-second stop, but returned to the track in 12th place since several teams only took two tires during their stops.
Braun worked his way up through the field and was back into sixth place by lap 78. He was in a fierce battle for position with Matt Crafton and inadvertently made contact with Crafton on lap 87. Crafton spun and Braun immediately told his team that he did not mean for that to happen.
He was in fifth when the race resumed on lap 89. The truck was still a bit tight and Braun fell back to seventh when a caution on lap 108 brought him to the pits for his final stop of the race. The Con-way Freight team had another fast stop and Braun returned to the track in seventh place with 55 laps to go.
He successfully avoided a few accidents that happened right in front of him and was able to gain track position in the process. He moved into third on lap 119. By lap 147 he was gaining on the second-place truck of Todd Bodine. When he pulled along Bodine a lapped truck blocked the inside lane which allowed Bodine to pull away and Jack Sprague to pass him.
A caution with 10 to go put Braun back in third place behind veterans Ron Hornaday and Sprague. Braun did his best to catch them, but in the end crossed the finish line in third place.
“First off, I want to apologize to Matt Crafton, I did not mean to get in the back of him there,” Braun said in his post-race press conference. “We were just having a tough, tight race there and me being a rookie, unfortunately, I got in the back of him and I feel real bad that we wrecked his day. He had a fast truck and I didn’t mean to do that, that’s for sure. Other than that, the whole No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 team was awesome. Those guys did a heck of a job. We had great pit stops all day and we just kept going and steadily progressing our way back up through the field there. We had a really fast truck. Mike Beam and all my guys did a great job. They just keep working hard at it. We finally got the finish that I felt like we kind of deserved. We’ve been fast everywhere we’ve gone and we really haven’t had the result that we thought this team deserved, so it’s nice to finally get a top five for everybody on the team, and everybody at Con-way Freight and Ford.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team moved up four positions to 16th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings. The next race will be on Friday, May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. It will be televised live on SPEED at 8:00 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, Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.