Young Driver Sets Yet Another Mark For His Racing Accomplishments With Recent Victory at Daytona OVALO, Texas, July 5 - Racing historians say that with his victory in last Thursday night's Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International ...
Young Driver Sets Yet Another Mark For His Racing Accomplishments With Recent Victory at Daytona
OVALO, Texas, July 5 - Racing historians say that with his victory in last Thursday night's Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway, 17-year-old Colin Braun of Ovalo, Texas became the youngest driver ever to win a professional, non-support-series race in North America.
Braun, who won't turn 18 until Sept. 22, won the event traditionally known as the Paul Revere 250 endurance sports car race with his co-driver, Jorg Bergmeister of Langenfeld, Germany, who at 30 is 13 years his senior.
The event is part of the Rolex Series, the top series sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association. Braun and Bergmeister were victorious both overall and in the event's top class, Daytona Prototype, with their Krohn Racing Riley Ford No. 76.
The race was broadcast live on SPEED.
Bergmeister currently leads the class's driver point standings. Braun would be tied with him had he been allowed to compete in all the races to date, but he had to forgo some events due to contracts in place with a tobacco company that sponsors cars in another series that shares the card with the Rolex Series at selected events. The contracts don't allow drivers under the age of 18 to compete at the same track on the same weekend that the tobacco-sponsored cars appear. Since Braun missed those events, and will have to miss at least one more due to the same situation, he's currently sixth in the point standings.
Braun qualified second in the 47-car field and drove the opening stint of the two-hour-and-12-minute race on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course. He took the lead from polesitter Luis Diaz when Diaz pitted on lap 34 of the 70-lap race. One lap later Braun pitted to turn his car over to Bergmeister. The extra lap coupled with excellent fuel mileage from their Roush Yates Ford engine allowed Braun and Bergmeister's car to go the rest of the way without another stop. They had a 16.498-second margin of victory.
The victory was Braun's second-straight Rolex Series podium finish and his fourth of the season, but like all athletes he says nothing beats winning.
"It is very satisfying," he said. "I am really proud of the job that the Krohn Racing guys have done. I have to admit that our Roush Yates engine is what won us that race. This really was a surprise win for us. We thought a top-five finish would be fantastic, but coming away with a win is just a huge credit to the whole Krohn Racing team and the Roush Yates guys."
Braun said that winning at Daytona was special too.
"Obviously with all the history this track has, it means a lot," he said. "To get my first win in the Rolex Series at Daytona, you couldn't have asked for a better weekend to do it, especially in front of all the NASCAR teams. It has been a dream of mine to win a Rolex race! It has also been a dream of mine to become a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion. Maybe someday I can win a NASCAR race on the oval at Daytona too."
What did he do to celebrate?
"I went to sleep!" he admitted. "Those one-day events are very long and I was really looking forward to getting some sleep. That was celebrating for me!"
The event was held on one day rather than over the course of four days as usual, and It wasn't over until 10 p.m It was also held under Daytona's typical summer temperatures. It also followed a similar event just five days earlier in Ohio.
The next Rolex Series race will be held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. July 28-30.
Braun was the youngest American to ever win a professional open-wheel championship when he topped the point standings in the Fran-Am 1600 Pro Series when he was 14. He drove in his first quarter-midget race at age 5 and his first kart race at age 8.