Continued from part 1 Q: You've known Dale Jr. for quite a while. Can you talk about how your relationship with Dale Jr. has developed over the years. RON FELLOWS: Obviously it's really very cool. For me to get the opportunity to not...
Continued from part 1
Q: You've known Dale Jr. for quite a while. Can you talk about how your relationship with Dale Jr. has developed over the years.
RON FELLOWS: Obviously it's really very cool. For me to get the opportunity to not only drive for Dale Jr. and Rick Hendrick, but to have won a race for them as well. That relationship goes back to 2001 when Dale Sr. and Dale Jr. drove as teammates with our Corvette program at Daytona, the Rolex 24. I got to drive for DEI in some Cup races, had some great races with them. That's sort of how it has evolved since that meeting back in 2001.
Q: Ron, many NASCAR drivers say the road courses are their toughest duty. Is driving a bulky stock car going left and right or is the tough nature of road courses in general?
RON FELLOWS: I think it's a combination of both. You're certainly a lot busier, and Colin could address this better than I with more oval time than me, but the added change of road courses, there's a variety of speed corners. Certainly this weekend at Circuit Giles Villeneuve, a couple times we're in first gear, some second gear, then third and fourth. There's a variety of corner speeds, different gears. The footwork involved keeps you on your toes, no pun intended. That's probably where the difference is.
It's primarily the footwork. There's a finesse involved. It's easy to overheat the brakes. You're on the brakes hard. Particularly this weekend, stopping power and maintaining it consistently through the 74 laps is not going to be easy. There's some finesse involved there. It's a different kind of physical than running on an oval.
Q: Colin, could you comment on that also. Also, there is a lot of young talent that have been having problems finding seats in NASCAR because of the sponsorship. You're one of the few surviving. What do you attribute that to?
COLIN BRAUN: First off, to follow up on your question for Ron, I'd have to say from my standpoint I agree with Ron completely. I think one of the more challenging things, too, is these cars are obviously mostly designed to run on ovals, designed to turn left. They have 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% of your time thinking about oval track racing and racing ovals. You get a couple road course races a year, it's tough to be as competitive as a guy like Ron is on road courses.
Q: About being a young talent, surviving. Some guys can't find seats right now.
COLIN BRAUN: 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. 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. Look forward to working with him for many years.
Q: It's not all organization. It has to be some kind of talent also.
COLIN BRAUN: I'm sure that definitely helps. I feel like as long as you're within the organization, doing the things they ask you to do, you show you're growing, improving, learning, you show that you can be molded into the kind of driver that they want you to be, I think that's just as big of a part of it.
Q: I constantly hear people say, Road course is just a road course. Would you explain to the people that all road courses are not the same. Name some of the courses that are very different.
RON FELLOWS: Colin, how about you first.
COLIN BRAUN: Well, you know, for me I've raced at not nearly as many road courses as Ron has. The different road courses that I really enjoy racing at are obviously a place like LeMans. That's one of the my favorite racetracks. 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 racetracks.
They're certainly not all created equal. You have different types of racetracks, different types of corners, the way the elevation changes are, the way the whole racetrack kind of flows is different from every racetrack.
I can't think of two road course racetracks 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.
RON FELLOWS: I think Colin makes a great point that a lot of the road courses, they don't adjust the terrain to accommodate the track. You have certainly Mosport is a track built in the same era as Watkins Glen, just east of my home in Toronto. It's very, very hilly. The track follows the contour of the land there. Certainly you get that all across North America, for sure. The Road America, Road Atlanta, they're awesome, awesome road courses.
Like Colin says, I'm with him. I can't really think of one that this one is like that. Some are flatter, much like temporary street circuits. But they all have their own very distinct character.
Q: Ron, you talked about the braking on this particular course, being a course that's different from any other. What is going to be the toughest restart? Double-file restart for the first time, are they doing that there? Where is it going to be toughest to pass?
RON FELLOWS: Yes, they will be doing double-file restarts. This being long straights, fairly slow corners at the end of them, the premium will be on maintaining quality stopping power and trying to not wear out the brakes between lap one and lap 74. Again, the nice thing about this particular track with being long straights, slow corners, there's lots of places to pass.
Having said that, the restarts in the turn one-two complex will be a little more difficult. We've seen pushing and shoving in there with single-file restarts. That's going to probably be the most difficult, is the turn one, turn two area on the restarts. Turn one is fairly quick, and then in second gear and down to first gear for turn two, a quick following almost 180 degrees. That's where most of the difficulty will be, I think.
Q: Colin, 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? The trucks are heavier, set up different, race trim is different. So are the Nationwide cars.
COLIN BRAUN: 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 a road course -- 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 racetracks. 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.
I have a question for Ron. I want to know how Ron can be so fast up there in Montreal having not raced up there. I need all the help I can get.
RON FELLOWS: What brand of car you drive again (laughter)? We'll see. To be honest with you, I think the man to beat is going to be Mr. Ambrose. He was quick there last year, fast at Watkins Glen. But, hey, be glad to help you.
COLIN BRAUN: Good. I'll come find you.
Q: Colin, your buddy Brad is racing up there. Have you made any bets on this one?
COLIN BRAUN: No. Brad and I have not made any bets on this race. I haven't actually talked to Brad in a few days. I'll have to call him up and ask him if he wants to bet on this race. I don't know if I'll be able to make it in time for the first practice. Maybe I can use that as a little bit of leverage for my bet.
Q: Jack said he wanted to put you in a Nationwide car full-time next year. Anything new on that? Have you talked to him lately about that?
COLIN BRAUN: No. Nothing really new on that. I guess I can say (indiscernible) and places like that. He's told me a few times that's the plan for next year. Looking forward to that. That's going to be an awesome opportunity. Really looking forward to running some laps with a strong teammate like Carl Edwards. It's going to be a great year.
TRACEY JUDD: Guys, we appreciate your time this afternoon. Ron Fellows, our defending race winner, and Colin Braun, pulling double duty at Chicagoland and then heading over to Montreal. Guys again, thanks, best of luck this weekend.
RON FELLOWS: Thank you.
COLIN BRAUN: Thank you. Appreciate it.