This Week in Ford Racing: August 25, 2009 Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150, will be very busy this weekend, participating in two NASCAR races in two different locations. First, he'll compete in the NASCAR Camping World...
This Week in Ford Racing:
August 25, 2009
Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150, will be very busy this weekend, participating in two NASCAR races in two different locations. First, he'll compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, and then he'll drive the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion in the Nationwide Series race in Montreal. The latter will be Braun's first Nationwide appearance of the year.
IS THERE ANY NEGATIVE IMPACT YOU SEE AS FAR AS BEING IN A TRUCK AND THEN MOVING OVER TO THE NATIONWIDE SERIES CAR WITH SO MUCH TIME SINCE YOU'VE RACED THE NATIONWIDE SERIES CAR LAST? "I don't really think so. One of the really cool things about driving for a big team like Roush Fenway is the opportunity I'm afforded to be able to test the Nationwide cars, and test their Sprint Cup car. Even though I haven't raced one of these Nationwide cars in a year, I've certainly done quite a few days of testing in the Nationwide car and the Cup car. You get a chance to go and feel what these cars are like to drive, get a chance to work with all the great people at Roush Fenway. I'm definitely excited about it and feel like we're going to have a pretty fast 16 3M Ford Fusion up there in Montreal. We always have fast trucks in the Camping World Truck Series. It's going to be a cool weekend for me getting to race in both series."
CAN YOU GIVE A BRIEF PREVIEW OF YOUR PROSPECTS FOR THE TRUCKS? "Well, I feel like our truck program is really coming along here. We've been getting a lot better on a lot of these short tracks where I haven't had a lot of experience. I've certainly been learning a lot on how to race these short tracks, racing against the veteran guys in the Truck Series. I feel like I'm still learning a lot and still have a lot to learn as a driver. As far as our trucks, we show up at the race track and we're fast and we always have competitive trucks. I think that just goes to show all the hard work that my guys have been putting in back at the shop. Having a veteran crew chief like Mike Beam is a huge help. He's taught me a lot, certainly always knows what I'm looking for in my truck. I feel really good about Chicago. We seem to run good on the mile-and-a-half racetracks. Definitely looking forward to it."
THE SCHEDULE ELIMINATED ANY THOUGHT YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD OF TRYING TO GET A TRIPLE-RACE WEEKEND BY GETTING INTO GRAND-AM, YOUR FIRST LOVE. HOW NEAT IS IT TO SEE YOUR OLD GRAND-AM BUDDIES? DO ANY OF THEM PICK YOUR BRAIN ABOUT HOW THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO GO NASCAR RACING? "Well, I love to go back and run the Grand-Am Series from time to time. Doing the Daytona 24 Hours is always a high point to my season. I love doing that race. It's a lot of fun. The people at Ford always make it easy for me to be able to do that. I certainly enjoy doing that race. Not many of the Grand-Am teams have talked to me about what it takes to go stock-car racing. For those guys, they always wonder what it's like to race over there. It's such a different world, I guess you could kind of say. A lot of them just question different things that they see on TV and have heard, things like that. None of them have really seriously asked about what it would take to go stock car racing."
MANY NASCAR DRIVERS SAY THE ROAD COURSES ARE THEIR TOUGHEST DUTY. IS IT TURNING THE BULKY STOCK CAR LEFT AND RIGHT, OR IS THE TOUGH NATURE OF ROAD COURSES IN GENERAL? "One of the more challenging things is that these cars are designed to run on ovals and they're designed to turn left. They do a really good job of that for how heavy they are. I think it's just a challenge to take something that's mainly designed to go on an oval and drive it on a road course. The brakes aren't meant to really last that long. The gearboxes aren't meant to withstand that kind of punishment, things like that. We've obviously had to do a lot of work to build different brake and transmission packages to make these cars work on road courses. I think that's just as big of a challenge from a mechanical standpoint as from a driving standpoint. You spend 95 or 90 percent of your time thinking about oval-track racing and racing ovals."
THERE IS A LOT OF YOUNG TALENT HAVING PROBLEMS FINDING SEATS IN NASCAR BECAUSE OF THE SPONSORSHIP. YOU'RE ONE OF THE FEW SURVIVING. TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT? "I think the biggest thing is the resources that a team like Roush Fenway has. They have so many resources from a marketing standpoint, from a sponsorship-finding standpoint. I think Jack Roush is someone who definitely believes in promoting from within. He's strongly believes in the fact that you need to have younger drivers to develop and move up through the ranks. For me that's obviously a great thing. I certainly appreciate all the effort and things he's put into trying to develop young drivers, people from a pit crew standpoint, mechanical standpoint, things like that. It's great to have Jack Roush on your side. He's certainly a really good team boss to drive for. I look forward to working with him for many years."
ARE ALL ROAD COURSES THE SAME? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFERENCES? "Well, you know, for me I've raced at not nearly as many road courses as others have. The different road courses that I really enjoy racing at are obviously a place like LeMans. That's one of my favorite race tracks. I've only gotten to race there once, but it's a pretty special race. Laguna Seca, Infineon, Watkins Glen, those historic road course races are just amazing race tracks. They're certainly not all created equal. You have different types of race tracks, different types of corners, the way the elevation changes are, the way the whole race track kind of flows is different from every race track. I can't think of two road course race tracks I've been to that I say, wow, these are pretty similar. They all seem different and have their individual characters. I certainly enjoy driving on all of them, but they're all different."
ADAPTING FROM A TRUCK ON FRIDAY AT CHICAGOLAND, THEN GOING RIGHT INTO THE STOCK CARS -- ESPECIALLY NOT HAVING BEEN IN ONE FOR A RACE ON A ROAD COURSE FOR A WHILE -- HOW MUCH ADAPTING DO YOU HAVE TO DO IN YOUR DRIVING STYLE BETWEEN THE TWO? "Yeah, it's definitely going to be different to try to adapt from all that. You know, I feel like obviously it's two different sets of standards. I kind of have an idea of what I want my road-course car to drive like and an idea of what I want my truck to drive like. As soon as the checkered flag falls for the truck race, I'm thinking about what I want my car to drive like in Montreal, where I'm going to brake for this corner, things like that. I feel like there's definitely enough time in between to kind of transition in between those two different types of vehicles and types of race tracks. I could see it would be really difficult to do it on the same weekend. I don't see how the Cup drivers go from a place like Pocono to Montreal in a matter of a few hours. I think it won't be too difficult."
JACK ROUSH SAID HE WANTED TO PUT YOU IN A NATIONWIDE CAR FULL-TIME NEXT YEAR. ANYTHING NEW ON THAT? "No, nothing really new on that. He's told me a few times that's the plan for next year. I'm looking forward to that. That's going to be an awesome opportunity. I'm really looking forward to running some laps with a strong teammate like Carl Edwards. It's going to be a great year.
-credit: ford racing