Colin Braun Returns to Memphis .....

Motorsports Park with Confidence

Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150, made his debut at Memphis Motorsports Park last October in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The Raybestos Rookie of the Year driver talks about racing the half-mile track, having more confidence and his race strategies heading into Saturday night’s race...COLIN BRAUN – No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 – ..YOU’VE HAD A BUSY WEEK SINCE RACING DOUBLE-DUTY IN MILWAUKEE. “Yeah, I sure did.  On Tuesday, I went to Los Angeles and Palm Springs on the Ford Driving Skills for Life program.  It’s an online-based safe driving program that teaches teen drivers skills above and beyond the normal driver education program.  There was a Mustang skid car available where the teens could safely steer out of a skid.  It was really awesome.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet with the teens out there.  Then yesterday, after arriving in Memphis, I met with some of the Con-way Freight people. This morning, a couple of drivers and I went to St. Jude’s and spent time with some of the kids there.  It was a busy but fun week and I’m ready to go racing.”

DO YOU FEEL MORE CONFIDENT RACING AT MEMPHIS SINCE YOU RACED HERE BEFORE? “Well, I think so. At least I know the race track a little bit, which I think is going to help out, especially early on.  I think driving the No. 16 Ford Fusion in last year’s Nationwide race helped me out a little bit.  I think we should be in good shape for this weekend’s race.  I also had the opportunity to test an ARCA car here before the Nationwide race last year.  It’s going to be nice to go out there and have some experience and laps right off the bat.”

WILL THERE BE A LOT YOU CAN CARRY OVER FROM LAST YEAR’S FALL NATIONWIDE RACE INTO THE SUMMER TRUCK RACE? “Well, I’m hoping there will not be as many cautions in the truck race as there were in last year’s race.  I think there were at least 25 cautions last year.  I’ve been going back through the notes that my guys have.  My crew chief Mike Beam and Hal Ralston [engineer] have a lot of notes that I’ve read back through.  I’ve watched the race from last year.  These guys won here last year, so the pressure is on.”

DO YOU FEEL PRESSURE STEPPING INTO A TRUCK DRIVEN BY MARK MARTIN AND TRAVIS KVAPIL? IS IT HARDER GOING TO PLACES WHERE THE NO. 6 FORD F-150 HAS WON? “I don’t think there really is.  It’s certainly a little more pressure than places where this truck hasn’t won at, but these guys have done such a good job making me feel at home and not under pressure or anything like that. I think we should be in fine shape.”

ALMOST ALL OF THE TRACKS YOU’RE RACING ON ARE NEW TO YOU. HOW DOES KNOWING THIS TRACK CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY? OR DOES IT? “I think, for me, I’ll just go out there and get after it a little bit faster, sooner.  At the same point, it really doesn’t change it a whole lot.  It just gives me a little bit of confidence going into the start of the weekend.”

CAN YOU COMPARE MEMPHIS TO THE OTHER SHORT TRACKS YOU’VE BEEN TO? “It’s more like Mansfield [Ohio] because it has some more banking to it. But, at the same point it’s not in a way because Memphis is longer and bigger.  It seems like a very one groove race track, just one lane. So I think racing is going to be tough to pass people.  I think qualifying is going to be really important, as well as track position and pit box location, but the biggest thing will be track position.”

THIS IS THE FINAL RACE OF A SEVEN-RACE STRETCH.  ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE UP UNTIL NOW? “I think it’s gone pretty well.  I think we’ve been fast; we’ve been in position to win almost every weekend we’ve ever run the truck.  Unfortunately, we haven’t had the great finishes that I think this team deserves.  A lot our finishes were a result of bad racing luck and people wrecking in front of us.  Things that are somewhat out of our control have affected our results.  Hopefully, our luck turns around for us this weekend.  We were definitely hoping to win a race during this stretch and I think we were in position to win a race a couple of different times and it didn’t work out.  We still have one more shot at it here in Memphis and we’re going to be trying for a win.  I think there’s another long race stretch later on in the season where we should be good as well.”

HAVE YOUR GOALS CHANGED SINCE THE START OF THE SEASON? “I don’t think so.  Our goal is still to win the Raybestos Rookie of the Year championship and go out and get as many laps and as much experience as we can.  At the same time, our goals might have shifted a little bit.  Now we’re looking to win a race and keep getting those top-five and top-10 finishes we need.”