DRIVER TRANSCRIPTS FROM TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MEDIA DAY ON FEBRUARY 25, 2009 *** NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Colin Braun of Roush Fenway Racing With already winning a pole in the season opener at Daytona, what are your ...
DRIVER TRANSCRIPTS FROM TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MEDIA DAY ON FEBRUARY 25, 2009
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Colin Braun of Roush Fenway Racing
With already winning a pole in the season opener at Daytona, what are your expectations this upcoming season?
CB: Certainly for me last year, we had some great races and we had some very disappointing races. It was kind of an up-and-down season and the goal for this year is to be consistent and to have top-10, top-five races and be a consistent contender week in and week out. Definitely the bar has been raised and the standard has been set. Obviously, Mark Martin and Travis Kvapil have had a lot of success in this truck and have proven that it can win races and win the championship. I feel we just got to go out there and get the job done.
What does it do for you being the only truck in the Roush Fenway Racing stable?
CB: For me, I think it kind of just puts a little more emphasis on our truck. I think it kind of helps focus everyone's effort within the company on one truck to win the championship.
How many Nationwide Series races will you compete in?
CB: It looks like I'll be doing one Nationwide race. I'll be driving in Montreal for 3M. I'm definitely excited about that. I wish I could do more, but with the way the economy is and the fact that I have a full season truck racing. I guarantee that they didn't want to split up too many races and distract me too much.
Have you mastered the truck yet?
CB: No. I haven't even got close to mastering the trucks I don't feel like. There is still a lot to learn. There is definitely a lot to learn not only driving the trucks but about racing with them and those guys. Racing neck and neck with the Ron Hornadays, Todd Bodines, Mike Skinners of the world.
What has been the talk among the truck series drivers about the sponsorship issues in the series?
CB: I don't think the drivers are really talking about it. It just makes us fortunate to have a sponsor like Con-way Freight that is signed up for a full season to sponsor our truck. It makes us very fortunate that Roush Fenway has the capabilities to have an entire marketing and sponsor development team within the company to find those sponsors and make sure that we have people to help pay for our racing and to keep us in jobs.
From TMS President Eddie Gossage: Now didn't you get suspended one time by Grand American Racing for a little fracas that occurred at a race?
CB: So the first thing you ask me is if I got suspended... what a question to ask (smile).
EG: You'll fit into NASCAR just fine.
CB: I did get suspended for rough driving in that Grand-Am series for a race, which I didn't agree with the call but apparently the sanctioning body did so I sat down for a race.
EG: When I read that, I said this guy needs to be in NASCAR so we're glad you're here and hope you give our Texas fans someone to pull for for a long time to come.
CB: Absolutely. It's great being from Texas and I love coming out here, racing at this track and all the fans come out from Texas and they all have great stories about how they drove up from Abilene to come watch this race or come from all over the place to check this race out.
EG: You're from Ovalo... About 700 people live there I understand...
CB: It says 700, but I have no idea how there's that many people there... it seems way smaller than that to me...
It had to be a difficult journey to find places to race growing up and ultimately be noticed to reach the professional racing ranks. Can you give us an overview of how you made it from small town Ovalo to the bright lights of NASCAR?
CB: I guess the quick overview is my dad was a professional race car engineer when I was a little kid. Ever since I was about five years old, he race engineered cars so I guess I kind of grew up in the sport and have been involved in the sport ever since I was a kid. I started racing quarter midgets in Austin and San Antonio, Texas. After that, I started racing go-carts when I turned eight and raced all over the country. With my Dad traveling and racing, obviously, it was hard to find places to go race and hard to find race tracks that had races on weekends when he wasn't racing. I certainly didn't race as much as I would have liked to when I was a kid, but I got out quite a bit and a lot of times took the summer on a racing trip. I went off for three or four months and then came back home to Texas. It was a lot of fun. I did that for a while and then I started racing open-wheel formula cars on the West Coast. I won a couple of championships there and got the opportunity to go and drive a sports car in the Grand-Am Series and nearly won the championship in that. I won a couple of races and a few poles and had a lot of fun racing there. I guess that kind of got me the opportunity to be recognized by [Roush Fenway team owner] Jack Roush and the people at Ford Motor Company because we had Ford-powered engines in our prototype cars. After that, they gave me the opportunity to come and do a couple of ARCA races and that went well and then they said here why don't you come drive a truck for us. Con-way Freight, my sponsor, stepped up and said we'd love to have Colin come and drive the truck... and there we go.
How far is Ovalo from Texas Motor Speedway?
CB: Basically Abilene is about 200 miles from here and my hometown of Ovalo is about 30 miles south of Abilene... so way out in the middle of nowhere. It's about a four- or five- hour drive to get here.
There are more Californians running in Sprint Cup that any other state in the Union. Something's very wrong with that picture...
CB: I'm excited definitely to be from Texas. I have been in North Carolina and haven't come back here since the last race we had back here and I'm actually going back this weekend to visit with my family. I get a chance to see where I grew up again and I'm really excited about that. I love coming to Texas.
The truck you're sitting in with Jack Roush, you're in a pretty good position because guys like Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, David Ragan, have all worked their way up into the Cup Series from that. Have you had any conversations with Jack about your future and what is your plan for the next three years?
CB: It's a challenge really to map out what the plan is with any great amount of certainty. It really depends on what happens with sponsors, what happens with NASCAR limiting the teams and what Jack decides to do with the teams that he has and the drivers that he has. I'm just focused on running well this year, gaining some experience and earning some respect from the veteran drivers. I'm going to kind of let Jack Roush and Brian Wolfe at Ford Racing figure out what they want me to do and what they want me to drive and how they want me to get there. Jack has been a great owner for me. He's been a really good guy and has helped me out a lot. He taught me a lot of things so I really enjoy driving for him.
How much of a difference is it for you now that you're in the truck series, from getting out of the Grand-Am Series cars and if you can explain that to people? Also, are you looking at any other opportunities or will they allow you should you get the chance to jump in a Grand-Am car on an off-weekend of trucks and get to race?
CB: I really enjoy driving in that Grand-Am sports car series. I've had a lot of success there and really enjoyed going back there and seeing the people that I raced against for a long time. As far as having the opportunity to go and drive one of those cars, I don't think the schedule really works out where there are many weekend where I'm not racing a truck that I could go and drive one of those cars, but I would absolutely love to. I love doing things for Ford Racing and driving for a guy like Jack. He wants you to go out and race as much as you can and do whatever you can do to get as much experience so he's a big supporter of it. Certainly, it's a lot of fun, but it's just a lot different than racing in the truck series -- maybe not how the cars drive or how they handle, just how they race compared with the trucks.
It has to put a lot of pressure on you to know that these guys have done it at Roush Racing. Does that add any extra pressure to you?
CB: Well for me, it doesn't really add a lot of extra pressure because I know I've got a great group of people behind me, a great team behind me. It's great having guys like Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth and those guys that I can walk over to on the weekend or call on the cell phone and ask them questions. There's never a time I walk away from something going `I just don't understand how this works.' There's always somebody there to ask, somebody there to help you out, somebody that wants to give you the information and wants to see you succeed. For me, that's the coolest thing about driving for Roush Fenway Racing.
Eddie Gossage mentioned you got suspended for rough driving. How are you going to be able to hold your own against veterans known for roughing people up with just one year in the truck series?
CB: Last year was definitely a rough year for me. I feel like I learned a lot from the veteran drivers and they certainly enjoyed teaching me, I guess you could say. But it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot and I feel I might have not done the greatest job to get their respect early on in the season. I feel like I kind of turned that around toward the end of last year and I feel like this year it has really paid off. Those guys have raced me really well, really clean and I think I'm a lot more accepted into the group. I figured coming from the sports car stuff that I would get here and these guys would beat the heck out of me and they did a little bit. Then I kind of went and said I better be nice to them because they can easily end your day the next weekend. It's a challenge to balance that whole aspect of it, but it makes it a lot more fun.