INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2008) – It looked as though Colin Braun was going to get a top-10 finish in his first start at O’Reilly Raceway Park Friday night, but he became an innocent victim in a late-race accident that put him back in 15th. He was running 10th with 13 laps to go when he literally stopped on the track for an accident in front of him and then got hit in the door.
After posting the fastest time in the final practice that afternoon, Braun qualified fifth for the Ford Power Stoke Diesel 200. When the race began he fell back to ninth and told crew chief Mike Beam his Con-way Freight Ford F-150 was free in and off the turns. It was too early in the race to pit for adjustments, so Braun hung on as the loose condition worsened as the race continued.
A caution on lap 86 brought the lead-lap trucks down pit road. Braun was 13th when he pitted for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. The team had a quick 15.5-second stop which helped him gain five positions in the pits and return to the track in eighth place for the restart on lap 91.
Only 10 laps into the run Braun said the truck was tight in the center of the corners now. When the next caution came for debris on lap 115, Beam made the call to bring Braun back to the pits for new tires and another wedge adjustment to fix the handling. Beam felt it would be worth losing some track position in order to get the truck better for the last half of the race.
Braun was 17th when the race resumed on lap 120. He kept working his way forward through the field and was up to 14th place within seven laps. By lap 135 he was up to 12th and finally got back into the top 10 with 17 laps to go. While running 10th on lap 187 an accident involving Todd Bodine and Terry Cook happened in front of him. Braun stopped on the track to avoid the accident and thought he made it through unscathed. Unfortunately, Bodine’s truck came down the track and hit the right side of Braun’s truck while he was sitting still. Braun was forced to pit for right-side tires and fender repairs.
He was 18th when he returned to the track with eight laps to go. Braun was determined to get a better finish and gained three spots in the final laps to finish the race in 15th place.
“That was pretty disappointing,” Braun said. “I really thought we were clear of the accident and then all of a sudden I got hit in the door. I don’t know what happened there, but we were running 10th at the time and the Con-way Freight Ford F-150 was really coming to life. We for sure could have been in the top 10, so to settle for 15th is disappointing for me and the whole team. Our pit stops were so much better this week and everything was coming together for a solid finish until we got hit. It’s not often something like that happens, and I hope it happened for the last time this year.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team moved up one position and is now 14th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings. Braun continues to lead the rookie standings. The next race will be on Saturday, August 9 at Nashville Superspeedway. It will be live on SPEED at 7:30 p.m. (ET).