KANSAS CITY, Ks. (April 27, 2009) – The only thing tougher than the competitors in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seems to be Mother Nature. After running only 52 laps of the 167-lap event on Saturday evening, rain forced the race to be postponed until Monday morning. The weather did not improve much Monday either, but a small break in the weather Monday afternoon allowed the teams to come within 35 laps of finishing before the rain returned. Colin Braun came away with a top-10 finish, although a top-five was probable if the race had run its full length.
Kansas Speedway was the site of Braun’s best finish last season in the truck series (third), so the team had high hopes for the weekend. He started the race in sixth place and told the Con-way Freight team early on that his Ford F-150 was pretty good. By lap 35 the truck became a bit loose and Braun fell back to 10th place.
A caution on lap 39 was just what the team needed to pit for new tires and a track bar adjustment. The crew had a fast 14.9-second stop for tires which helped Braun gain seven positions to restart third on lap 43.
Teams could see rain on the radar approaching rapidly. The rain began to fall and eventually a caution was called on lap 46. Braun had been driving carefully on the wet track and went back to eighth place. By lap 52 NASCAR was forced to throw the red flag and postpone the race until Monday with severe storms and tornados in the area.
Rain persisted Monday morning and the race finally resumed at 1:50 p.m. CT. Braun said the truck was a bit free and smart pit strategy helped gain track position again. A caution on lap 73 brought Braun to pit road for tires and a wedge adjustment. The team could not take fuel until a competition caution on lap 85, so they took tires early to have a quick fuel-only stop later. After pitting for fuel on lap 87 when most teams pitted twice Braun returned to the race in fourth place.
The truck was fast and Braun drove up to second place on lap 99 to chase down the leader, Ron Hornaday. Mike Skinner began a charge to the front as well and passed Braun on lap 110.
When the caution came on lap 114 crew chief Mike Beam brought Braun to pit road for the final time since the team was within its fuel window to finish the race, and the radar did not show any rain in the area. A few teams stayed out and planned to pit later in the race. Braun was 11th for the restart on lap 119, but wasted no time getting to the front again. Within three laps he raced his way up to sixth place and had his sights set on the top five until a mist covered the race track. NASCAR threw a caution on lap 123 and tried to wait out the weather. The mist just got worse and the race was halted again after 132 laps. The weather never improved and NASCAR ended the race 35 laps short of the advertised distance. Braun finished sixth, his second top-10 finish of the season. Skinner won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250.
“If we could have even had a couple more laps before it rained we could have had a top-five finish.” Braun said. “Our truck was fast and we could have gotten around a few more guys if we could have gone the distance. We had great pit stops and a smart pit strategy but the mist didn’t show up on the radar so we had no idea we should have stayed out to keep our track position. I’m proud of this Con-way Freight team. It was a good day in the points, but just disappointing we couldn’t finish the race. I guess you can’t beat Mother Nature.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team gained four positions and is now 17th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings. The next race will be on Friday, May 15 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. It will be live on SPEED at 8:00 p.m. (ET).