(CONCORD, N.C.) -- Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, currently sits 16th in the point standings after the first three races of season. After a pole and top-10 finish in the season opener at Daytona, the next two races at California and Atlanta proved to be disappointing. Transmission trouble left Braun with a 20th-place finish at California, and an accident with 12 laps to go resulted in a 26th-place finish at Atlanta.
WITH ALREADY WINNING A POLE IN THE SEASON OPENER AT DAYTONA, WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS THIS SEASON?
“Certainly for me last year, we had some great races and we had some very disappointing races. It was kind of an up-and-down season and the goal for this year is to be consistent and to have top-10, top-five races and be a consistent contender week in and week out. Definitely the bar has been raised and the standard has been set. Obviously, Mark Martin and Travis Kvapil have had a lot of success in this truck and have proven that it can win races and win the championship. I feel we just got to go out there and get the job done.”
WHAT DOES IT DO FOR YOU BEING THE ONLY TRUCK IN THE ROUSH FENWAY RACING STABLE?
“For me, I think it kind of just puts a little more emphasis on our truck. I think it kind of helps focus everyone’s effort within the company on one truck to win the championship.”
HOW MANY NATIONWIDE SERIES RACES WILL YOU COMPETE IN?
“It looks like I’ll be doing one Nationwide race. I’ll be driving in Montreal for 3M. I’m definitely excited about that. I wish I could do more, but with the way the economy is and the fact that I have a full season truck racing, I guarantee that they didn’t want to split up too many races and distract me too much.”
HAVE YOU MASTERED THE TRUCK YET?
“No, I haven’t even got close to mastering the trucks. There is still a lot to learn. There is definitely a lot to learn not only driving the trucks but about racing with them and those guys. Racing neck and neck with the Ron Hornadays, Todd Bodines, Mike Skinners of the world.”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE TALK AMONG THE TRUCK SERIES DRIVERS ABOUT THE SPONSORSHIP ISSUES IN THE SERIES?
“I don’t think the drivers are really talking about it. It just makes us fortunate to have a sponsor like Con-way Freight that is signed up for a full season to sponsor our truck. It makes us very fortunate that Roush Fenway has the capabilities to have an entire marketing and sponsor development team within the company to find those sponsors and make sure that we have people to help pay for our racing and to keep us in jobs.”
IT HAD TO BE DIFFICULT TO FIND PLACES TO RACE GROWING UP IN A SMALL TOWN AND ULTIMATELY BE NOTICED TO REACH THE PROFESSIONAL RACING RANKS. HOW DID YOU MAKE IT FROM THE SMALL TOWN OF OVALO TO THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF NASCAR?
“I guess the quick overview is my Dad was a professional race car engineer when I was a little kid. Ever since I was about five years old, he engineered race cars so I guess I kind of grew up in the sport. I started racing quarter midgets in Austin and San Antonio. After that, I started racing go-carts when I turned eight and raced all over the country. With my Dad traveling and racing, it was hard to find places to go race and hard to find tracks that had races on weekends when he wasn’t racing. I certainly didn’t race as much as I would have like to when I was a kid, but I got out quite a bit and a lot of times took the summer on a racing trip. I went off for three or four months and then came back home to Texas. It was a lot of fun. I did that for a while and then I started racing open-wheel formula cars on the west coast. I won a couple of championships there and got the opportunity to go and drive a sports car in the Grand-Am Series and nearly won the championship in that. I won a couple of races and a few poles and had a lot of fun racing there. I guess that kind of got me the opportunity to be recognized by Jack Roush and the people at Ford Motor Company because we had Ford-powered engines in our prototype cars. After that, they gave me the opportunity to come and do a couple of ARCA races and that went well so they offered to let me drive a truck for them.”
YOU ARE IN A PRETTY GOOD POSITION SINCE GUYS LIKE KURT BUSCH, CARL EDWARDS, GREG BIFFLE AND DAVID RAGAN HAVE ALL WORKED THEIR WAY UP INTO THE CUP SERIES FROM THE ROUSH TRUCK PROGRAM. HAVE YOU HAD ANY CONVERSATIONS WITH JACK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE AND WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS?
“It’s a challenge really to map out what the plan is with any great amount of certainty. It really depends on what happens with sponsors, what happens with NASCAR limiting the teams and what Jack decides to do with the teams that he has and the drivers that he has. I’m just focused on running well this year, gaining some experience and earning some respect from the veteran drivers. I’m going to kind of let Jack Roush and Brian Wolfe at Ford Racing figure out what they want me to do and what they want me to drive and how they want me to get there. Jack has been a great owner for me. He’s been a really good guy and has helped me out a lot. He taught me a lot of things so I really enjoy driving for him.”
HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE IS IT FOR YOU NOW THAT YOU’RE IN THE TRUCK SERIES, FROM GETTING OUT OF THE GRAND-AM SERIES CARS? ARE YOU LOOKING AT ANY OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OR WILL THEY ALLOW YOU SHOULD YOU GET THE CHANCE TO JUMP IN A GRAND-AM CAR ON AN OFF-WEEKEND?
“I really enjoy driving in that Grand-Am sports car series. I’ve had a lot of success there and really enjoyed going back there and seeing the people that I raced against for a long time. As far as having the opportunity to go and drive one of those cars, I don’t think the schedule really works out where there are many weekends where I’m not racing a truck that I could go drive one of those cars, but I would absolutely love to. I love doing things for Ford Racing and driving for a guy like Jack. He wants you to go out and race as much as you can and do whatever you can do to get as much experience so he’s a big supporter of it. Certainly it’s a lot of fun, but it’s just a lot different than racing in the truck series – maybe not how the cars drive or how they handle, but just how they race compared with the trucks.”
IS THERE EXTRA PRESSURE ON YOU KNOWING THE SUCCESS A TEAM LIKE ROUSH FENWAY RACING HAS HAD OVER THE YEARS?
“Well for me, it doesn’t really add a lot of extra pressure because I know I’ve got a great group of people behind me, a great team behind me. It’s great having guys like Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray or Matt Kenseth that I can walk over to on the weekend, or call on the cell phone and ask them questions. There’s never a time I walk away from something going, ‘I just don’t understand how this works.’ There’s always somebody there to ask, somebody there to help you out, somebody that wants to give you the information and wants to see you succeed. For me, that’s the coolest thing about driving for Roush Fenway Racing.”
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO BE ABLE TO HOLD YOUR OWN AGAINST VETERANS KNOWN FOR ROUGHING PEOPLE UP WITH JUST ONE YEAR IN THE TRUCK SERIES?
“Last year was definitely a rough year for me. I feel like I learned a lot from the veteran drivers and they certainly enjoyed teaching me, I guess you could say. But it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot and I feel I might have not done the greatest job to get their respect early on in the season. I feel I kind of turned that around toward the end of last year and I feel like this year it has really paid off. Those guys have raced me really well, really clean and I think I’m a lot more accepted into the group. I figured coming from the sports car stuff that I would get here and these guys would beat the heck out of me, and they did a little bit. Then I kind of went and said I better be nice to them because they can easily end your day the next weekend. It’s a challenge to balance that whole aspect of it, but it makes it a lot more fun.”
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating nine motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun.