MEMPHIS, Tenn. (June 28, 2008) – Colin Braun learned why Memphis is known for the Blues on Saturday night. After running as high as second earlier in the night, he ran into trouble in the final 35 laps of the race to finish a disappointing 29th, six laps off the pace.
Braun qualified his Con-way Freight Ford F-150 in 12th place earlier in the day. When the race began the truck continued to get tighter with every lap. Crew chief Mike Beam made the call to pit early in the race since they were back in 21st place during a caution on lap 36. The team changed four tires, and made track bar and air pressure adjustments to free up the truck. Although Braun returned to the track in 26th place for the restart, he did not stay back there for long.
By lap 51 Braun had worked his way up to 21st, and a caution on lap 54 played right into his hands. Most of the leaders pitted for the first time, but he was able to stay out and move into second place when the race resumed on lap 58.
The truck was still tight in the center of the corners and free off. Braun was in fourth place on lap 83 when he told the team he thought he had a tire going down. He rode it out for a few laps and decided to stay on the track, although he fell back to seventh place.
A caution on lap 123 brought the leaders to pit road. The truck was still tight so Braun brought the Con-way Freight F-150 in for new tires, fuel, track bar and air pressure adjustments. The team had a quick stop and he was able to maintain sixth place for the lap 127 restart.
Braun was in seventh place with 40 laps to go and looked to have a top-10 finish in sight. A few laps later his Roush Fenway teammate Bobby East spun in front of him, and Braun spun to avoid hitting him. Luckily he did not hit anything and did not flat spot the tires so he was able to continue in eighth place without pitting.
Only a few laps after that incident, Mike Skinner got loose on the inside of Braun which forced him into the outside wall on lap 178. The truck did suffer right-side damage this time and Braun pitted several times for repairs. He ended up losing six laps by the time the race ended for a 29th-place finish. Ron Hornaday won the race.
“My crew chief Mike Beam had a really great strategy for us,” Braun said. “We fell back early at the start and the Con-way Freight Ford F-150 wasn’t driving that well and we really couldn’t get it to turn. We got caught back in traffic and fell back there a little bit. We kind of fought brake problems throughout the race too. Mike had some great strategy there to get us back up front, which we didn’t think was going to work out but luckily the cautions fell our way. Then it worked out when everybody pitted again and we were still up front. I thought we were going to be okay there. I thought we were catching the 09 a bit, then I’m not sure what happened with Bobby (East) and the lap-down truck but they both spun in front of me and I tried to check up to avoid running into them and spun myself. We got back going after that, came back out and were eighth. Then Skinner got up underneath of us and came off the corner and slid up. I guess it was one of those racing deals. We hit the wall pretty good there and knocked the whole right side in and the guys had to work on it. It was disappointing, but we’ll just keep giving it everything we have.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team lost one spot and is now 15th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings. Braun continues to lead the rookie standings. After a two-week break the next race will be on Saturday, July 19 at Kentucky Speedway. It will be live on SPEED at 8:00 p.m. (ET).
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.