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MADISON -- This weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Gateway International Raceway for a stand-alone weekend. Colin Braun, driver of the No. 16 Con-way Freight Ford Fusion might be a rookie in the series, but he’s no stranger to the track. Braun, who won the pole during the Camping World Truck Series race there last year, talks about what makes Gateway unique and how he feels going into this weekend’s race.
Q. WHAT MAKES GATEWAY UNIQUE?
A. Gateway is one of the most unique race tracks we go to because both ends of the race track are different. You’ve got turns one and two which are really tight and three and four which are really flat and sweeping and a lot more open. It’s a pretty big challenge to get your car driving well on both ends of the race track. It seems like if you get it driving well in one and two you’re too loose in three and four. If you get it good in three and four you’re too tight in one and two. You really have to balance that and try to work around it.
Q. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THAT?
A. The last couple of years in the Truck Series I’ve had to sacrifice a little bit on three and four just to make sure I’m good through one and two. As a driver you can do a lot more through three and four to get your car or truck to kind of get through there and drive decent, but one and two you really have to have your car working well. I don’t feel like you can do as much in one and two as you can do in three and four as a driver.
Q. HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND’S RACE?
A. I feel really good. Gateway has been a pretty good track for me. I’ve been fast there. I certainly had a quick vehicle last year, qualifying on the pole and ran well, but I got caught up in a wreck there near the end of the race on a green-white-checkered and it cost us a decent finish, but I felt like we were going to have a really good night.
Q. ARE YOU TAKING WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED FROM OTHER TRACKS INTO THIS WEEKEND’S RACE?
A. We’ll be able to take a lot of what worked for us at Loudon to Gateway. I feel like we were pretty good there. We certainly got a lot better and were working on things at Loudon. My crew chief and I learned a lot about each other, what we both like and what we both want in our vehicle, and we can carry a lot of that into Gateway.
Q. SPEAKING OF CREW CHIEFS, HOW IS IT ADJUSTING TO A NEW CREW CHIEF?
A. It’s always tough having a new crew chief and having different people, but it’s something that you’ve got to learn to deal with as a driver. Having Rick Viers come in has been really good for the group. He’s a really good leader and a really good, strong, well-organized guy. He always seems pretty confident about what he’s doing and I think that gives our whole team confidence and that’s what we need right now.
Q. YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A LONG RACE STRETCH HERE. DO YOU LIKE HAVING RACES BACK-TO-BACK?
A. For me, being a rookie in this series, having more back-to-back race weekends is nice. It gives you the chance to get some momentum going and think about what you did right and wrong the weekend before and work on it that very next weekend. When you start to have those big breaks it seems to disrupt your momentum and your flow a little bit.