Colin Braun to Start Fifth at Mansfield

COLIN BRAUN – No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 – (qualified 5th) –

SOME OF THE DRIVERS HAVE STRUGGLED A BIT, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU FOUND SOMETHING THAT WORKED FOR YOU. “We pretty much went back to where we started.  I think within a track bar adjustment of how we rolled off the trailer.  I think the whole team did a really good job. The guys certainly worked their tails off there in practice.  We made at least 23 changes there in two-and-a-half hours.  I wish we could have qualified a little further up than that, but for what we had, I guess after the practices got done, we were pretty happy with sitting right now fifth.  Hopefully it will stay up there and we can have a good race tomorrow.  We were surprised by that lap, considering we were 17th in the second session and 14th in the first.”

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED TODAY ABOUT THIS TRACK? “It’s definitely different than a Martinsville short track.  You have to be pretty patient getting into the corner and you can’t really drive it in there very hard.  You have to be smart about how you just drive this whole race track where Martinsville seemed like a pretty basic short track.  You just had to do your deal, where here you have to be smarter about it.  I guess it’s more of a driver’s track than anything.  It’s a track that pays to have experience at.  I think that might have hurt us a little bit in practice because I didn’t have any experience at this place.  In the first practice, for at least the first hour, we were P1.  So, I figured it out fast and everybody else figured it out better.  I don’t know what happened there.  But everybody has done a good job here.”

ERIK DARNELL – No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 – (qualified 15th) – “That wasn’t a very good lap for our Northern Tool + Equipment Ford.  We were just a little too free.  I don’t think that’s going to hold up very well at all.  Qualifying is important here and I was hoping we’d have a little bit better run than that.  I know we have a pretty good truck in race trim.  We’re going to have to get our pit stop out of the way early because track position is going to be really important.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to get it up front and keep it there near the end.”

A LOT OF DRIVERS ARE STRUGGLING IN QUALIFYING.  IS IT BECAUSE IT IS COOLER THAN IT WAS EARLIER TODAY? “Track conditions are different than what they were earlier today.  I really thought I would have tightened up a little bit, being cooler like it is.  But our truck was actually freer than in practice.  I haven’t talk to anybody else, they maybe fighting the same thing.  Yeah, it is a little bit different.”

KEVEN WOOD – No. 21 Air Force Ford F-150 – (qualified 18th) – “It was good.  We did two sticker runs earlier in practice.  In the first one, they didn’t even tell me the times.  They just wanted to adjust the truck.  In the second one we went out and we were better, but still working on the air pressure and getting it right.  I went out on scuffed and it was magic. The scuffed ones were better, but we couldn’t do scuffed.  So we got the air pressure right and I got enough heat in the tires in that first lap and it was good to go from there on.  I think I might have picked up the gas a tick too soon, so I had to get out of it a little bit. Other than that, that was a great truck.  I’m looking forward to racing that one tomorrow.  That gave me a big boost of confidence right there.  I was waiting for that.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

RICK CRAWFORD – No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150 (qualified 27th) – “Our Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International is just being a handful this weekend.  We can’t put the number up. We can’t put the qualifying number up.  I’ve had some ideas.  Kevin Starland [crew chief] has had some ideas and we just hope it’s hot and sunny tomorrow with a long run and maybe we’ll be all right.”

BRENDAN GAUGHAN – No. 10 MAXX Force Diesel Ford F-150 – (qualified 20th) – “Last year when we came here and qualified, I went out first after the big rain storms when jet fuel and being first out normally don’t mix well.  Then everybody jokingly said, ‘hey, good luck,’ and we were 35th or 36th.  So we’re 20th today.  We finished eighth last year, so I’m figuring now starting 20th means that were three-quarters of the way there.  We can win now.”

YOU PICK UP SOME TIME ON YOUR SECOND LAP. “Yeah, I thought it was a little bit better. We had a couple of good laps. We were smooth and at least from the driver’s standpoint, it did what the crew chief was wanting.  Just like a Charlotte when everybody looked at us and said, ‘you qualified 29th,’ it did what we wanted it to do, which at least from a driver’s side says, ‘hey, got some rubber on the race track.  It did what we wanted.  Tomorrow hopefully, we’ll be able to run like we want.’ And that’s all that matters in these race trucks.  I don’t care about qualifying.”

ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH HOW YOU THINK THE TRUCK WILL HANDLE? “I think so.  I’m really happy so far.  It turns where I want.  It’s multi-groove.  I’m not just stuck in the one place running good.  We can run sevens and eights consistently on 125 or 130 lap tires.  I believe it will do what I want.  I believe it will stay that long.  It’s just my job now to save it for the last 50 laps.”

JACK SMITH – No. 63 Dave Porter Truck Sales Ford F-150 – (qualified 29th) – “That’s the best the truck has been all day.  Mittler and his guys did a really good job.  At the end of practice, the sway bar broke and the clutch has been going all day. We just didn’t want to change it and loose all of practice.  So, right at the end, it just went.  I told the crew that we weren’t gaining on anything, so we ended up changing the clutch.  We changed everything but the kitchen sink and the truck was at it’s best in qualifying.  We’re starting 29th, but we’ll be all right.  This is my home track.”

MANY DRIVERS MENTIONED MAKING A LOT OF CHANGES, WHY? “We have a different tire than we did last year.  We have the same set-up and we were really good.  We were fastest in rookie practice.  This year with the softer sidewalls, it just throws a curve ball to you.  It’s taking more camber in these things and it’s taking more right rear spring in them.  It’s totally different than it was last year.” 

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