After a two week hiatus in NASCAR Nationwide Series racing, Colin Braun heads to Bristol Motor Speedway ready to get back to business driving the No. 16 Con-way Freight Ford Fusion. The Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate has scored one top-20 finish this season at Auto Club Speedway and is ranked third in the rookie standings. Braun sat down for a few questions during the break to assess his season thus far as well as look ahead to the weekend at Bristol.
Q: What is your assessment of the first few races of the season for you and the No. 16 Con-way Freight team?
A: Well for one thing, we obviously aren’t very happy with the results of these races, especially the finish at Las Vegas. I think
that’s one we all kind of wish we could have back. I don’t feel any of the finishes are indicative of the strides we’ve made as a team.
(Crew chief) Eddie (Pardue) and I have continued to develop and work on our communication. The team has also performed better each week, especially on pit stops. We just need to continue to show improvement every weekend and the results will hopefully come.
Q: What are some of the things you have learned in your first three Nationwide Series races? What’s the most important?
A: The most important thing I’ve learned, or gotten adjusted to, is the double-file restarts. I was so used to the single-file restarts in
the truck series, so moving to double-file was an adjustment for me. I like it though because, especially at the end of the race, it’s almost anyone’s race to win if you are anywhere from first to sixth place.
Not only that, but it’s a more exciting and intense experience for the fans which is cool. I’ve also learned that the tracks don’t change
as much as I thought they would. When I was racing the trucks, we were the first ones on the track each weekend and the track would usually change after the Nationwide and Cup teams practiced and qualified. I thought it would continue to change after the trucks raced.
Q: What are you most looking forward to this weekend at Bristol?
A: More than anything, I’m just looking forward to getting back to racing. The off weeks are nice to an extent, but as a driver, I really
just want to be racing. Bristol has been a challenging track for me but it’s a place that I would really like to figure out and that will come the more seat time I can get. So I guess it’s more of a fun challenge for me to tackle.
Q: How much different will the racing be for you at Bristol now that you are in a Nationwide car rather than the truck series?
A: There are quite a few differences. Certainly the double-file restarts are going to be tricky. The Nationwide race is also 100 laps
longer than the truck race. The race this weekend will be run in the afternoon and the last race I ran at Bristol was in August at night so
I’m anticipating that the track will be different for this race. Something everyone will have to also deal with is the fact that they’ve narrowed the exits of Turns 2 and 4 at Bristol, so that will definitely make the restarts as well as the racing a little more interesting.