Ford 200 Post-Race Transcript

An interview with:
JOHNNY SAUTER - Series Rookie of the Year
MATT CRAFTON - 2nd place finisher, 2nd in final standings
COLIN BRAUN - 3rd place finisher

THE MODERATOR: We're going to roll into our post race for the Ford 200. Joining us on the podium is the 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and that is Johnny Sauter. He drives the No. 13, Fun Sand/Rodney Atkins/CURB Records Chevrolet. And Johnny, had a win this year at Las Vegas, and also had two poles at Las Vegas and Phoenix. Finished the season, also at Miami today, finished the season with one win, seven top 5s and 12 top 10 finishes. Johnny, congratulations.

Your thoughts about being chosen 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, and the season you had in had the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series?

JOHNNY SAUTER: It was average at best. Mediocre, so. It's all I've really got to say about it. Tonight wasn't the night we wanted. Struggled from the word go, and that's where we're at.

THE MODERATOR: We have our second place finisher in tonight's race. He also finished second in this year's Championship points race. That's Matt Crafton. He drives the No. 88 Australian Gold Chevrolet. Matt, you had a good season, had a good race tonight. Your thoughts about how things unfolded?

MATT CRAFTON: They unfolded all right. That 4 truck, he's been tough here the last few races. They brought two really good trucks the last two races and we've came up short tonight.

But we had a really, really good truck. I knew at the end last night we had a really good truck. The balance on the truck and the race trim was really good.

And I honestly didn't know how it was going to qualify, because we tried to do a qualifying run last night and we were horrible loose. So after we qualified where we did, I knew we had a shot to be able to have track position.

THE MODERATOR: Joining us on the podium is tonight's third place finisher, and he finishes fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Series Championship point standings this year, and that is Colin Braun. He drives the No. 6 Conway Freight/True/LTL.com Ford. And Colin, you certainly had to be proud of the season that you guys turned in. In getting in that top 5 I know was very, very special to you.

COLIN BRAUN: Yeah, that was definitely the goal for us tonight, qualify on the pole. Leading the lap came into a big play there. I don't think if we would have led a lap we probably would have finished fifth in points. So certainly that was important for us.

We just struggled in the race. I thought we had a really good truck. Ran in practice last night. Was surprised it wasn't a little better in the race.

But my guys did a good job trying to get it fixed up during the race. But my crew chief made a great call there during the race to get us back in track position and we were able to hold on at the end.

Q: How long would this off season have seemed to you if you hadn't gotten that jump late and gotten up to fifth? This just how long would it have taken to get over something like that?

COLIN BRAUN: I think with how good of a truck we had last night it would have been pretty disappointing. I think on one side of me I'm really happy to have Top 5 in points. The other side is frustrated we didn't run better than we did.

But, you know, but I feel like since we did get in the Top 5 in points we can kind of put this race behind us, and work on building the Nationwide car and get ready to go Nationwide racing next year. I'm sure it will be pretty different.

Q: The grand picture with KHI, with Ron, and now with Kevin winning back to back races, what was that like in terms of trying to just keep up with them? Is there any kind of consolation in being as close to them tonight and finishing second?

MATT CRAFTON: It's really good. But there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to beat them. We outran them 33. It just shows. KHI they built two brand new trucks, a brand new truck for Phoenix, and a brand new truck for here. It just shows how good their stuff was these last two races with Kevin, that's exactly what we've planned on doing.

We've sold a few trucks here already at the end of the year, and we're building new stuff for next year. We've kind of got some ideas, and here are some of the ideas of what they're doing.

We've got a direction we need to go to make our stuff better, and that's what we plan on doing in making a really good run for the championship next year. I mean, this team I can't thank Duke and Rhonda, Thorson and Menards and Australian Gold.

Each and every year if you look at our points since '05, every year we've gotten better and better. I mean, Top 5s, it's been really good to see the team come from as far as they've come.

Q: In this series you used to see young guys like yourself really challenge for the championship and/or win the championship. Now the dynamic's kind of changed the last five or six years where a lot of the veterans are running it. Do you feel like you've accomplished a big deal finishing in Top 5 in points? Or do you feel like you should have been challenging for the title?

COLIN BRAUN: You know, I feel like with how we started off the first part of the season, we're in the Top 5. I think we have seven DNF's this year. So to have seven DNFs and finish in the Top 5 is pretty impressive.

But I feel like those seven DNFs really killed us. If we didn't have seven DNFs, we'd be in a much better position to challenge for the championship.

I feel like in the middle of the summer we had really good Top 5 runs, won a race and had some good, consistent finishes. But that deal at the start of the season killed us. And we got wrecked by Charlotte and blew a tire at Dover in the middle of the season, and that kind of killed us there, too.

We've just had, I guess, some bad luck. I know I've made a lot of mistakes, but I feel like I've learned a lot. I feel like if we could have those seven races back, we'd be a lot different.

-credit: nascar