TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 4, 2008) – Racing at Talladega requires the right balance of aggression, patience and nerves of steel. Colin Braun found the right mix on Saturday coming from the back of the pack with seven laps to go to challenge for the win and finish fourth.
The Craftsman Truck Series teams qualified on Friday and Roush Fenway Racing took the top-three spots. Braun was third behind pole sitter Erik Darnell and second place John Wes Townley. When the race began Braun lined up behind Darnell and the teammates formed a single-file line for the first 20 laps of the race running first and second. A caution on lap 20 for debris brought the field down pit road. Most teams pitted for right-side tires and the No. 6 Con-way Freight team did the same. Braun returned to the track in second place behind Darnell for the restart on lap 23.
By lap 33 a few trucks jumped out of line to challenge for the lead and Braun fell back to fourth, but quickly moved back up to second by lap 37. He followed Darnell until lap 50 when teams cycled through the pits for green-flag pit stops. The three Roush Fenway trucks came to pit road on lap 50 in order to pit together to keep their drafting help. Braun pitted for four tires and fuel, but trouble on the right-front tire slowed the stop. He lost the drafting help from his teammates and was back in 15th place.
He caught the lead pack by lap 57 and actually took the lead on lap 67. Just as he assumed the lead a caution came on lap 68. The teams came to pit road for the final time and crew chief Mike Beam elected to take fuel only. The quick stop put Braun back out in third place for the restart on lap 77.
With a strong Ford F-150, Braun took the lead again on the restart before the field went three wide putting him back in fourth by lap 82. Only a few laps later on lap 84 Braun suddenly spun after cutting a left-rear tire. The rookie did an amazing job saving the truck and not hitting anything. He came to pit road for four new tires and returned to the field in 21st place with only seven laps to go.
When the green flag dropped Braun charged forward and was back up to seventh within two laps. He found the drafting help he needed from T.J. Bell and moved into second place with two to go. Braun pushed his way to the front and led coming to the white flag. On the final lap Todd Bodine and Ron Hornaday pushed their way past Braun with Bodine winning the race and Braun ending up fourth. It was Braun’s second top-five finish of the season.
“My guys did a great job,” Braun said. “We just had a little bit of a mishap down on pit road, so that made it extra difficult, but those guys just dug in. Obviously, my guys built me a real fast truck to be able to go from the front to the back like that every time. I had really good help, but Jack Roush and these Roush Yates guys built a heck of an engine. They deserved to win that race, but just disappointed we had a few mistakes there. It’s unfortunate, too, that we blew a tire. I thought we were going to be in a good position, but I ended up blowing a left-rear tire and had to go to the back and then go back to the front again. It was a heck of a race. I think it just shows the willpower of all these guys. They work their butts off. I thought we were gonna have a shot to win the race. We led it the last time by, and I don’t know what happened to T.J. at end, but I just lost all my help there the last little bit and was on my own. It’s unfortunate, but, hey, that’s the way it goes.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team moved up one position to 13th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings, and Braun continues to lead the rookie standings. The next race will be on Saturday, October 18 at Martinsville Speedway. It will be live on SPEED at 3:00 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, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.