Colin Braun just wants to race. But just like every teen in the history of the world that has preceded him, Braun's found out that we sometimes don't get to do what one might wish to do regardless of how talented one may be in whatever they ...
Colin Braun just wants to race.
But just like every teen in the history of the world that has preceded him, Braun's found out that we sometimes don't get to do what one might wish to do regardless of how talented one may be in whatever they wish to pursue.
It isn't necessarily "right" that Braun finds his fate more in the hands of others than it really should be, but that's just the way it seems to work -- again and again, one generation after another. Been there; done that.
Whatever the case, Braun's a talented driver who likely has become the focus of unwanted attention.
Race car drivers represent a broad cross-section of personalities -- some mild; some wild -- but there seems to be one common trait running among them all: drivers relish being alone in their cars.
Beyond being surrounded only by a car's body, drivers then ardently seek to become one with that car. For when each correctly reads the feedback of the other, set in motion is a beauty of movement that is a joy for fans to watch.
Braun's nearly there.
It's not that Braun hasn't already many times achieved the synergy achieved when man and machine become one, it's that at 17-years of age Braun has so much more time to perfect skills at a level he's only started to realize.
Yet, he's being denied a chance to do it -- at least certainly insofar as winning a championship is concerned.
Jorg Bergmeister is co-driving with Braun in their No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford-powered, Riley Technologies-built Daytona Prototype.
Bergmeister currently sits second in the Rolex Series' driving championship, having twice already this season been in and out of first-place. Given the quality of team and driver, there's no reason to think Bergmeister won't continue to be in the title-hunt mix.
Currently sitting fifth in the DP driving championship standings, it's safe to say that Braun would've been right there with Bergmeister had Braun in late March not been unceremoniously dumped from the No. 76 car at Homestead-Miami Speedway under circumstances much like the current mess at Watkins Glen after somebody showed up with a car bearing a cigarette logo.
"What? Did they think I'm going to go out and light up my first cigarette just because of a proximity to those cars," Braun rhetorically asked sometime later.
Somebody evidently did; a lot of "somebodies."
Despite all of the controversy, despite all of the anti-smoking messages being seen nearly every time one turns around; despite almost an entire generation of current users having first been drilled with anti-tobacco messages starting in kindergarten -- a demographic whose usage of tobacco products is growing faster than any other current age group -- better than 25-percent of the U.S. population still frequently uses tobacco products. And at a cost per use that hasn't served as a deterrent, either -- at least to them.
If anyone is looking for a boogieman in this issue it's the propensity of human nature to over-react.
Someone somewhere decided the mere vision of a product's name would drive its viewer to buy that product and, as a result, cigarette-maker Phillip-Morris put under-18 exclusionary clauses in contracts with The Indy Racing League and the tracks at which it performs -- including upcoming Infineon Raceway and not just the International Speedway Corporation properties of Homestead-Miami Speedway and Watkins Glen International.
Yet, if merely "seeing makes believing" were really the case, Edsel (much less Oldsmobile or Packard or Studebaker or a hundred other car companies that have come and gone over the last 100 years) would still be a household name instead of "Exhibit-A" in Marketing 101's "Merchandizing's Great Misfires."
Indeed, has anyone lately seen a roll of wet toilet tissue for sale?
So, if anyone wants to blame anyone else in this deal, don't be blaming Penske Racing, Krohn, Watkins Glen, Grand American or anything other than an over-zealous attitude that has kept a talented race car driver -- who only wants to do what he does best -- out of Saturday's Sahlen's Six-Hours at the Glen.
A race which, in an announcement to be made at noon Friday, will include the Daytona Prototype class as originally scheduled.
-DC Williams, exclusively for Motorsport.com