MANSFIELD, Ohio (May 24, 2008) – Short track racing is notorious for rough driving and many caution laps. Saturday’s Ohio 250 at Mansfield fit that description. Colin Braun made his first start at the half-mile track and found out quickly that even the veterans can bring out the caution flags. Braun’s Con-way Freight Ford F-150 suffered damage when Ron Hornaday spun on lap 48, and although he lost a lap, the team battled back for a 16th-place finish on the lead lap.
Braun qualified fifth and was running in the same position on lap 48 when Hornaday spun and hit the wall in turn four. Braun thought he was clear of the accident until Hornaday’s truck came down the track and clipped Braun’s rear tire. He was forced to pit with a flat tire and lost a lap which sent him back to 35th place for the restart on lap 54.
He was forced to be patient and bide his time while working his way up to the lucky dog position to get his lap back. The truck was loose so the crew pitted three times while they were a lap down to make adjustments and add fuel. The break the team needed came on lap 137 when the caution came out. Braun was the first truck one lap down and was awarded the lucky dog to get his lap back. He was 31st for the restart on lap 144.
The Con-way Freight Ford was fast and Braun began to work his way though the field. He passed several trucks and also gained track position with each caution. He was up to 21st by lap 192.
On lap 199 Braun was hit from behind by Andy Lally and spun in turn four. He pitted for four tires and a track bar adjustment to tighten-up the truck. He remained on the lead lap, but fell back to 29th with 47 laps to go.
Braun was not about to give up. He survived four cautions in the final 50 laps to keep gaining track position. He was 19th for the final restart with six laps to go. In a short amount of time, he was able to pick up three more positions to finish the race in 16th place. Rookie driver Donny Lia won his first career truck race.
“It makes racing pretty boring and not really much fun when you get wrecked early on like that,” Braun said. “You look up to these veteran guys for how to race and how to handle yourself and I don’t think some of those guys did that this weekend. It’s just disappointing. You’ve just got to keep your truck clean. We had a truck there that was real fast. The No. 6 Con-way Freight guys did a great job. It doesn’t really matter how fast of a truck you have if you get torn up there early on and put in the back. It’s just a disappointing day.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team gained one position and is now 15th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings. The next race will be on Friday, May 30 at Dover International Speedway. It will be taped delayed on SPEED at 7:30 p.m. (EDT).