NASHVILLE, TN (March 22, 2008) – Colin Braun and the No. 16
CitiFinancial team traveled to Music City this weekend for the Pepsi
300. Making his CitiFinancial racing debut in only his second-career
Nationwide Series race, Braun was looking forward to getting valuable
seat time and hoped to bring home a solid finish. Braun exceeded
expectations by qualifying ninth and finishing 15th.
The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was strong in both practice sessions.
With the help of crew chief Eddie Pardue, Braun learned his way around
the 1.333 mile Nashville Superspeedway. After posting the 20th fastest
lap in final practice, Braun felt the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion would be
a solid top-25 car on Saturday.
Qualifying has been a strong point for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular and the trend continued this weekend. Required to make the race on time, Braun qualified 9th with a fast lap time of 29.67 seconds.
When the Pepsi 300 began, Braun settled in for a long afternoon of
racing. Early in the race, Braun said the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was
“pretty tight,” a condition he would fight all day. Braun was running
16th when he reported the car had gotten “tight all the way through” on
lap 35. The crew was preparing for a green flag pit stop when the
caution flew on lap 60 and Braun brought the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion
down pit road for the first time. Pardue called for four fresh tires
and air pressure and track bar adjustments. After a 15-second pit stop,
Braun restarted 15th on lap 64.
The adjustments helped but weren’t enough. On lap 108, Braun told the
crew he was “tight, tight, tight in the center.” Despite having to
fight the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion every lap, Braun held steady in the
top-20. Long green flag runs limited the CitiFinancial team’s chances
to adjust on the car. Green flag pit stops began and Braun hit pit road
for the second time on lap 127 for four tires and another air pressure
and track bar adjustment. The field cycled through without incident and
when everyone had made their stops, Braun was running 20th on lap 130.
The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was up to 16th on lap 155 when the caution
flew and Braun told the team he was “tight in the center and free off.”
Braun hit pit road for the third and final time of the day and received
four tires and an air pressure and wedge adjustment. The CitiFinancial
crew knocked off another solid pit stop and sent Braun back on the track
in 15th place. The adjustments didn’t do much to free up the
CitiFinancial Ford Fusion. Braun held strong for the remaining laps and
when the checkered flag flew the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was 15th.
“”I’m pretty happy with our day,” said Braun. “The CitiFinancial Ford
Fusion was okay for the first few laps of the race but just got really
tight and stayed that way for most of the race. Our pit stops were
really good today. Eddie and the guys worked really hard on the car all
weekend. Our goal was to finish the race and get a solid run which we
did. I’m excited about our day and I can’t wait to get back in the
Nationwide car in a few weeks in Mexico City.”