MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 18, 2008) – Martinsville Speedway is a tough track for most drivers, especially rookies. Although he was making his third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at the half-mile oval, the third time was not the charm for Colin Braun. While running in the top 10 with 52 laps to go, Braun made contact with Matt Crafton which sent him into the wall. The damage to the truck relegated Braun to a 25th-place finish.
Braun qualified his No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 in fourth place to start the 200-lap race. He fell back to 10th within the first 20 laps and told the team his truck was free going into the corners and tight coming off. As the race continued he said the truck was getting better, but still tight off.
The first caution of the race did not come until lap 36. Crew chief Mike Beam’s pit strategy was to pit only once early in the race to maintain track position later in the day. Beam called Braun to pit road on lap 36 for fuel only and a wedge adjustment. With a quick stop Braun gained four positions on pit road and restarted in sixth place on lap 40.
By lap 81 he settled into 11th place and told the team his truck was pretty good. He spent the next 50 laps in 11th place and moved up to ninth after a caution on lap 141. With just over 50 laps to go, Braun and the team felt optimistic they would get a top-10 finish.
Unfortunately a few laps later Braun brought out the seventh caution of the race on lap 148. Coming off turn two he got inside Donny Lia and got hit from behind by Crafton which sent him into the inside wall. The right-front of the truck sustained considerable damage which forced him to pit road for repairs. The team pitted twice under caution, but lost a lap fixing the truck. When the race resumed on lap 153, Braun was back in 29th place, one lap down.
Only 10 laps later, he spun and hit the wall again, this time coming off turn four. There was no caution so he had to wait to pit for repairs. When the next caution came on lap 176 the team used the opportunity to pit again to work on the fender. Braun lost another lap in the pits and returned to the track for the restart with 19 to go.
He was able to gain four positions in the final laps of the race as both Ron Hornaday and Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel in the closing laps. There was also a multi-truck accident on the final lap which left Braun in 25th place when the checkered flag fell. Johnny Benson won the race and reclaimed the point lead with four races to go.
“I guess that’s part of racing,” Braun said. “The 88 truck got into the back of me and I feel like today that probably cost us a top-10 finish. It’s just disappointing for all these guys on the Con-way Freight team. They work so hard on these trucks. After I hit the wall we had to come back to pit road and lost a lap trying to fix our truck back up. Disappointing but, hey, I guess that’s part of racing.”
The No. 6 Con-way Freight team remains 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 25 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It will be live on SPEED at 1:30 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.