FONTANA, Calif. (February 23, 2008) – What a difference a week made for Colin Braun and the No. 6 Con-way Freight team. After a disappointing 31st-place finish at Daytona, Braun rebounded with a top-10 finish and Raybestos Rookie of the Race award at California.
Braun started the San Bernardino County 200 sixth based on last season’s owners’ point standings since rain washed out qualifying on Friday. The Con-way Freight Ford F-150 was tight early in the race, but Braun maintained his place in the top 10.
The second caution of the day came on lap 15 for debris. Braun brought his truck down pit road for four tires, fuel, track bar and air pressure adjustments to loosen-up the handling. After a little trouble on the stop, he returned to the track in 17th place for the restart on lap 18.
After a few green-flag laps, Braun told the team the truck was better but a bit free off the corners. He patiently worked his way forward to regain his track position. He moved up to 15th by lap 33 and was running down his competitors.
Another caution for debris came on lap 46, and crew chief Mike Beam told Braun to bring his truck down pit road for service. The Con-way Freight team had a great pit stop, and picked up four positions in the pits. Braun returned to the track with fresh tires and a track bar adjustment after a quick 15.8-second stop.
The race resumed on lap 49 with Braun in 11th place. A few laps into the run he fell back to 13th and told Beam the truck did not have enough grip. That did not seem to slow him down. With 25 laps to go, Braun was battling veteran David Starr for 11th place and took the position on lap 79.
By lap 81 the teams began to cycle through the pits for green-flag stops. Braun moved all the way up to second place by lap 85 before he came to the pits for right-side tires and enough fuel to go the distance. When all the teams had pitted, Braun was in 11th place with 11 laps to go. He moved into the top 10 on lap 92, but that was not enough for him. As the laps wound down, he set his sights on fellow rookie Philip McGilton who was in ninth place. On the final lap Braun made his move and passed McGilton at the finish line for ninth place and rookie of the race.
“It was a lot of fun today,” Braun said. “The Con-way Freight Ford F-150 started off pretty strong. I got a chance to race with some of the veteran guys and learn a lot from them. Towards the end, we had a pretty quick truck. It was just tough in traffic, when we got behind somebody we got real tight and once we kind of got into clean air, we could run some pretty quick lap times and catch the next pack. We struggled a little bit to get through the pack but that's just my lack of experience. I'm starting to get more and more experience and I'm having a lot of fun racing out there with these veteran guys. The last couple of laps with that No. 22 truck (Philip McGilton) were a lot of fun. I didn't think I was going to get him there. Right at the end, I think he got a little bit tight up in turn four. We got up under him and got by him. It was a lot of fun on the last couple of laps. It was a great day for the whole Con-way team.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team moved up to 18th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings. The next race will be on Friday, March 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It will be televised live on SPEED at 9:00 p.m. (EST).
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 and Joey Clanton; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.