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NASHVILLE -- Colin Braun, driver of the No. 16 Con-Way Freight Ford Fusion, has had a rough start to his rookie season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. This weekend, Braun heads to Nashville Superspeedway hoping to turn his season around at a track he’s performed well at in the past.
Q. IT SEEMS LIKE ROUSH-FENWAY DRIVERS PERFER CONCRETE TRACKS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING ON A CONCRETE TRACK?
A. I enjoy racing on a concrete race track. I don’t know if I prefer them, but I really enjoy racing on the concrete race tracks. I feel like the Roush-Fenway cars and the trucks, we’ve always run really well on the concrete tracks. I think that just goes to show the amount of work these guys put in at the shop.
Q. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY THAT IS?
A. A lot of it has to do with the way we have our cars set up. I think the concrete race tracks are more consistent throughout the time we’re there; from the time we start practice until we qualify and then when we race. They always seem to stay fairly consistent how they change during the time we’re there. It kind of allows you to work on your cars a lot, get them really dialed in specifically instead of having to guess what the race track is going to do, how it’s going to change, you can just kind of work on it from the very start and know that’s how it’s going to be during the race. I think that lets all of the engineers really focus in and get these cars set up and driving well.
Q. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASPHALT AND CONCRETE? CAN YOU TELL IT AS A DRIVER?
A. You get those little tiny vibrations more on the concrete race tracks. I think it’s the expansion joints and the way that they have the surface prepared is a little bit different. As far as when you’re actually out there during practice and racing on it, to me it seems like the concrete tracks particularly Nashville, don’t seem to open up as much when you get into the race because you get those fine little bits of rubber that wear off the tires and it pretty soon turns into a one groove race track. It’s a little bit different feel than when you’re on asphalt.
Q. USUALLY THIS TRACK IS A SINGLE EVENT AND NOW IT’S A DOUBLE WITH THE TRUCK RACE. WILL THAT CHANGE THE TRACK CONDITIONS?
A. It will change a little bit. I think it’s going to rubber up a bit quicker having trucks practice and obviously before our race they’ll have done their race. I don’t think it will be a huge difference.
Q. YOU HAVE BEEN TO NASHVILLE A COUPLE OF TIMES. ARE YOU MORE FAMILIAR WITH THIS TRACK COMPARED TO A FEW OTHER PLACES?
A. I think so. I think we’ve really run well there in the past in the No.6 Con-Way Freight Ford F-150 Truck. We’ve been fast, qualified up in the front, finished up in the top-five every time we’ve been there. It’s just been a good race track for me and it’s just a place I enjoy racing at. It gives you a little bit of confidence especially coming off the rough start to the season that we’ve had in the No. 16 Con-Way Freight Ford Fusion.
Q. YOU’VE QUALIFIED REALLY WELL THIS YEAR BUT YOU’VE RUN INTO SOME BAD LUCK DURING THE RACE. IS THIS A TRACK WHERE YOU COULD TURN YOUR SEASON AROUND?
A. I think we can. We’ve shown really good progress over the first four races and I feel like we’ve really learned a lot, certainly I have learned a lot, and I feel like my crew chief and I, Eddie Pardue, we’ve been working together a lot better here the last couple of races. Every time we hit the race track we’re learning more and getting better and learning more about each other and figuring this out. Nashville is going to be a great place to kind of put all of the pieces together and really start getting down to business.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS SEASON?
A. My goals for this season are to win the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year campaign. That’s been the goal back in 2008 in the Truck Series, and we accomplished that, and certainly that’s the goal for us in the Nationwide Series as well.