Daytona: Braun, Clanton - Ford Thursday interview

Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 talks about this week's practice sessions at Daytona International Speedway. Braun returns to Daytona in the same truck that was involved in an accident during the test in ...

Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 talks about this week's practice sessions at Daytona International Speedway. Braun returns to Daytona in the same truck that was involved in an accident during the test in January.

COLIN BRAUN - No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150

ON PRACTICE. "Practice went really good this week. I think we have a really good truck. We worked on it obviously after the accident in testing. We had a chance to go back and work on it a quite bit. I think we made it a lot better than it was. It's more driveable. I'm really excited about the race, I think we have a really good shot and we'll go out there and get all the laps we can and have a good consistent truck. That's part of our game plan - to have a consistent truck. I don't think we have a truck that is super fast on a single car run, but I think we have a really good race truck and that's what we're working towards. We want to be conserve, run the whole race and learn as much as we can."

THIS TRUCK IS BETTER THAN THE TEST TRUCK? "Yeah, it definitely drives better than it did in the test. We'll see how qualifying goes. We haven't made any single truck runs but I don't think that matters for us. We can start last and still win this race. We just want to go out there and have a good truck that makes a lot of grip and is comfortable to drive to drive in traffic. That's something we've been working on, getting me out a lot of laps and experience in the draft. We want a truck that stays under me the whole time in the draft."

CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW THE TRUCK DRIVES BETTER? "For us, it just sticks better here when were in traffic. We haven't done a single car run, so I really can't compare that to what we did at the test. Just working with a couple of draft packs yesterday compared to what we had going at the test. It just feels like it drives better here. There's more grip, it feels more stable, and it doesn't feel as free. It just sticks to the race track really well. That's the biggest thing we're looking for is a truck that's just stable and doesn't move around a lot, it does everything pretty predictably and that's what this truck does."

DOES IT FEEL STRANGE TO RACE THE ENTIRE OVAL AFTER YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE HERE HAS BEEN ON HALF THE OVAL AND THE ROAD COURSE? "It's not that big of a deal. It's totally different. When I drive this truck, I don't get the urge to dive into the infield or anything like that. It's great. It's certainly something fun and the whole drafting thing. I'm enjoying driving with the other trucks and learning how much they suck up and what they do when somebody gets beside you. There's a lot of things like that for me to learn. I'm certainly enjoying trying to figure stuff out like that and hopefully by the race, we'll have the majority of that figured out. We can go out there, settle down and have a good race."

YOU'RE STEPPING INTO AN EXPERIENCED TEAM; DOES THAT ADD PRESSURE TO PERFORM WELL LIKE PREVIOUS DRIVERS OF THE NO. 6 FORD F-150? "No, not really for me. I look at it for me as an opportunity to learn a whole lot from guys like Mike [Beam, crew chief] and engineer Hal Ralston. These guys have worked together for the last couple of years. There's so much experience and knowledge on the No. 6 team here, it's just a good chance for me to learn a lot. Obviously, the guys that have driven this truck before have done a lot of good things, so I don't think there's a lot of pressure on me. I think there would be the same amount pressure if I drove in the 99 truck or the 09 truck. It's still a truck and you're driving for Roush Fenway Racing and you want to do as well can. I think there is more pressure from that side than just driving the No. 6 truck."

IS A TOP STARTING POSITION IMPORTANT TO YOUR TEAM? "No, not for us. In the race, I think you can pretty much start anywhere and win the race. I don't think this is a race where you need to qualify up front and run up front to be a contender. It doesn't really matter for us. I don't think we'll run a qualifying run in Thursday's practice or make a mock run. We're going to go out there and make our qualifying run tonight and where it puts us, it puts us and then we'll focus on the race." WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE YEAR? "We want to go out early on, learn as much as we can and make all the laps. Our goal is to with the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title, that's the biggest goal we have and if we can win a race or two along the way, that's icing on the cake. The main thing this year is to win the rookie of the year." YOU'VE BEEN TO DAYTONA BEFORE FOR SPORTS CAR RACING, TALK ABOUT BEING HERE AS A NASCAR DRIVER. "It's certainly a neat deal. I remember the first time I came here, I was 16 and it was for the sports car race - that was really cool. Now it was the third or fourth time that I had come for the sports car race in Daytona, it was kind of another race, but it is still special. Now coming back here on the oval, it's something that I'm really enjoying and it has a new spark to be here racing on the oval."

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Joey Clanton, driver of the No. 09 Zaxby's Ford F-150 returns to Daytona and his first full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Clanton finished sixth at last year's Daytona race. He talks about driving for Roush Fenway Racing and his strategy for the 2008 season.

JOEY CLANTON - No. 09 Zaxby's Ford F-150

ON THIS WEEK'S PRACTICE SESSIONS "We're just being cautious with what we've got going on. We don't want to get in any situations where we were at the test where we only have one day. We've got three days here, two days to practice and qualify and the day to race. Our goal is to be there and finish for the win on Friday night. We're very confident in the truck. It's handling real well, driving real well. We're running it at about seven-eighths throttle and just hanging around in the pack seeing what it will do. It will pull through to front or wherever I want to go. This year is a little different than last year; you've got to have help to go to the front. Anybody that's sitting and leading the race is a sitting duck. If two trucks get in line behind him and pull out, they're going to pass him, whereas last year you could be up front and get a push to keep out front. I think the situation is going to be a little different this year. You're pretty much sitting there waiting to jockey for the right position at the end of the race. I don't think you want to be leading this year coming to the stripe. You're not going to win."

HOW ARE THINGS DIFFERENT? "It's a smaller fuel cell, they raised them up and I think you have a little bit more drag on the truck. If you're out front, you'll be sitting there by yourself. If two trucks get in line and somebody makes a move wherever they make their move, they are going to pass that truck. As long as somebody pulls out and they get help, they'll make the pass. The only hope that you can have, if your sitting up front and somebody pulls out, and you're running first that someone sucks up behind you and stays with you. It's kind of a chess game, you do or your don't. We're just trying to get our truck to where it can drive good behind somebody and it seems to do that real well. It's coming off the corners real good. We're real strong and I'm looking forward to Friday."

IS THIS THE SAME TRUCK FROM TESTING? "It's the same truck we had in practice [testing]. It actually drives better now than it did then. It just seems to turn better off the corners. We were a little tight before, but real fast. The body is better, they had to put a new body on the truck and the guys back in the fab shop did an excellent job. This is probably a little bit better than what we had. The truck drives better, it's more of the aero side of it, I think. It didn't hurt anything on the chassis when we got in the wreck here. It knocked the whole body off of it and now it's real good."

TALK ABOUT HAVING A NEW CREW CHIEF AND TEAM. "I think the team is meshing pretty good. Chad Norris [crew chief] is working really hard over here; he's determined to win races. He knows I want to win a race. He's working hard to get these guys motivated and going everyday to get them to where they're gelling together and working really hard. We're all new together here, so we're all learning. I think he's a good leader to be able to do that and keep everybody on the straight line where we need to stay focused and get the job accomplished."

YOU RAN A PARTIAL SCHEDULE LAST YEAR, ARE YOU READY FOR A FULL SEASON? "I'm ready. I'm excited about it. To have the opportunity to start at Daytona and run every race until the end, I'm excited. Words can't explain it, but I'm looking forward to the race Friday night and then going to California and then Atlanta following that. I'm just trying to put these races together and get some laps documented with these guys so they know what I'm looking for and they know what I'm expecting out of them. Hopefully we can build on it and get us a few wins this year."

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS THIS SEASON? "My goal is to win races and win the championship. I know we have the equipment behind us and the support behind us. Being here every week and the opportunity to win that race is my goal. It's my goal to make sure that I've got the truck there and if we do everything right, the wins will come."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Colin Braun , Joey Clanton
Teams Roush Fenway Racing