Texas II: Braun - Ford Thursday interview

Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings with a 30-point lead over Donny Lia. Braun participated in a press conference today to talk about his rookie year. YOU'VE HAD A ...

Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings with a 30-point lead over Donny Lia. Braun participated in a press conference today to talk about his rookie year.

YOU'VE HAD A CONSISTENT YEAR AND THE ONLY THING MISSING IS A WIN. "Absolutely, I think we've had a good season so far. We've certainly learned a lot, I know I've learned a lot as a driver, obviously. It's been a lot of fun. I'm really excited about next year, certainly. That's going to be pretty awesome. We're fulltime doing the same thing again next year, so I'm certainly really glad we go the opportunity this year to run all the races and we've tried as hard as we could to finish every race we could and just make sure we made all the laps. That's been tough at a few places, but certainly, we've tried that."

IF YOU WERE ABLE TO HOLD ON AND WIN THE RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR TITLE FOR CAR OWNER JACK ROUSH, WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU, TO THE TEAM, TO JACK, TO THE WHOLE COMPANY? "It would be huge. Donny [Lia] has had some really good runs lately and we've just been struggling a little bit lately. We've been working hard on our trucks. After Atlanta, we went back and worked real hard on our trucks for this weekend. I feel like we have a good truck. If we can hold on and win that Raybestos Rookie of the Year, that would be a pretty awesome deal. When Con-way Freight, our sponsor, signed up this year, that was their number one goal, was for us to win to the Rookie of the Year Championship and of course, Jack Roush has almost had a lock on that Rookie of the Year Championship pretty much every time he's had a rookie driver come and run the truck series, I think he's won the Rookie of the Year Championship. Certainly, that's something Jack expects of us and obviously Ford Motor Company as well. They put a lot into this and it would be great to get that for all those companies involved."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS YEAR AND HOW FAR YOU'VE COME AS FAR AS A DRIVER AND HOW MUCH RESPECT YOU THINK YOU'VE WON ON THE TRACK? "There's quite a few veterans out there and that's something that I think at the first three or four races never really understood how much you needed those guys to be on your side and how much respect you need from those veteran drivers and I think I'm still dig myself out of that hole a little bit. Certainly, now I'm trying to be as respectful of those guys as I can be and show them that they've obviously been here for a long time and deserve that respect. Like I kind of said earlier, we're definitely rebuilding for next year. I'm just getting prepared for that. Ford Motor Company is going to put a lot engineering and technical support into things next year and we're really happy about that obviously and certainly Con-way Freight is coming back as well. We feel like we're going to be in a good position next year to contend for race wins and hopefully contend for the championship. But a big part of that, I think is gaining the respect of the veteran drivers and that's something that I've been really trying to work on hard here in the last few race because I feel like I didn't do a very good job of that earlier in the year."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT NEXT YEAR AND WHAT YOUR GOALS WILL BE? "Con-way Freight is coming back to sponsor our truck and I'm going to be in the No. 6 truck again next year with the same crew chief Mike Beam. I'm really excited about that. We're building up for next year, trying to protect the trucks that we have and make them better, obviously, try a few different things and try and learn as much as we possibly can. Maybe try a few things that we're not 100 percent confident in these last couple of races, but try them and see if they are going to work for us next year and kind of be creative a little bit. There's a lot of talk how everybody says Ford Motor Company is pulling out of the truck series, but I really don't find that to be true. Ford is still going to be the technical support and they're going to maintain all the same level of engineering support that they had this year, so we're really excited to have those guys back on board again and certainly excited to have Con-way Freight come back and sponsor my truck."

WHERE HAVE YOU STRUGGLED THIS YEAR? WHERE HAVE YOU EXCELLED? WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST SURPRISE? "I would say for me, I think the places that I struggled the most would definitely be the short tracks. I feel like we've been really fast at some of the short tracks in terms of running one fast lap, but I feel like I've really struggled with racing the short tracks. I don't think I did a very good job earlier in the year setting my truck up to be good in the race. I feel like I set it up to be really fast and that doesn't really usually pay off very good in the race sometimes. I feel like I struggled mostly on the short tracks. I feel like on the mile-and-a-half stuff, obviously, we're pretty good and I feel like a big chunk of that is just having really good equipment, having Jack Roush build the motors and having my crew chief Mike Beam work on our trucks in the wind tunnel every couple of weeks, it seems like working on these trucks. I feel like that was a huge help for me on the mile-and-a-half tracks. Certainly, I feel the Roush Fenway group, as a group, is pretty strong on the superspeedways as well. I feel like those places we've excelled and I feel like just for me, it's learning how to race the people on the short tracks, learning how to get your truck set up well to drive on the short tracks. Obviously coming from no oval racing or stock car racing background, I don't, for some reason, the bigger tracks seem to be a little easier to figure out than the short tracks."

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN AT TEXAS? "It would be awesome. I grew up about three and a half hours from here. It would be really cool to get your first win, obviously in Texas. I feel like we have a good truck. I don't know if it's a truck to win the race. From a driving standpoint, I don't know if we're ready for that quite yet, but I feel like we definitely have a fast truck. We've been good on the mile-and-a-half tracks. Last week in Atlanta was one of the race tracks we struggled on a little bit but other than that I feel like we've been really competitive on the mile-and-a-half race tracks. It would be awesome to get your first win here in Texas being from this place. It would be pretty cool."

-credit: ford racing

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Drivers Colin Braun , Jack Roush