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Q and A with new ARCA driver Colin Braun
Colin Braun, driver of the No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion, made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut on Friday night at Gateway International Raceway.  Braun finished ninth after qualifying in the 13th position.  He is scheduled to run two more ARCA races this season then assuming full-time driving duties in 2008.

HOW DID YOU LOSE THIRD GEAR? “I think it was probably my fault.  I’m not used to shifting with these types of cars.  I’ve been working on that all day. With about 15 laps to go, we lost third gear.  Luckily we tested here and we never shifted, so I was used to using one gear.  It seemed to work out okay at the end.  We were just using fourth gear, the top gear, where before we were going down to third gear in turns one and two.  We just started using fourth gear in turns one and two and it seemed to work okay.”

IN YOUR FIRST ARCA RACE YOU FINISHED IN NINTH PLACE.  WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE RACE?  “I had a blast, obviously.  It’s a fun series to race in. Driving with guys at Roush Fenway and having the support of a manufacturer like Ford is great because it gives me a chance for me to get out there and make lots of laps and learn and gain a lot of experience.  Our goal tonight was to finish the race and we did that, so I’m happy about that.  I’m just thankful for everybody here in giving me an opportunity to and run.”

MANY DRIVERS SAY THIS IS A DIFFICULT TRACK BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE SHAPE.  WHAT DID YOU THINK? “For me, I’m used to having a lot of different corners on one race track.  So it might have been a little easier than what I’m used to then some of these guys.  But I definitely think this is a tough race track. It’s just difficult for me running for the first time in traffic and figuring out how the restarts work and the how the whole pit lane deal works.  I’ve never done an oval race at night.  There are a lot of difficult things and it’s just great to have the crew and the organization with me the whole time.”

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE LENGTH (TIME) OF THE RACE?  “I think it went by pretty quick.  I wanted to go more and more because I’m anxious to learn more.  It was great because every lap we were doing I was learning a bunch.  It’s good because I can go back and talk to all the crew. It’s really helped me, especially having a crew chief like Jeff Campey.  I’ve learned a lot from him and all his experience.  It’s been a good run.”

TRAVIS KVAPIL AND ERIK DARNELL WERE IN YOUR PIT BOX DURING THE RACE.  AS A NEW MEMBER TO THE ROUSH FENWAY RACING TEAM, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE YOUR TEAMMATES WITH YOU AT YOUR DEBUT? “I think it shows what kind of a team that Roush Fenway Racing really is.  I think everybody kind of bands together and want to help everybody.  It’s been great for me.  Erik has come to a couple of tests and really helped me out putting some laps down and work with me a lot. He’s really helping me get up to speed.  It’s been really nice for me.  It’s great having someone there who has won and driven in this series before and was able to help me out.  I got to meet Travis in Bristol, he seems like a really nice guy, so I’m really enjoying working with everybody here.”

THIS WAS YOUR FIRST TIME IN A STOCK CAR-STYLE PIT STOP.  YOU’RE PIT CREW HAD MEMBERS OF THE 6, 50 AND 99 TRUCKS.  WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THESE PIT STOPS? “It’s definitely different than what I’m used to.  We had pit stop practices back at the shop, but it’s not the same as going and do a pit stop under race conditions.  I didn’t want to go in and run anybody over but at the same time, I didn’t want to give up too many spots.  It’s great for me.  The pit stop guys did a heck of a job.”

WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED TONIGHT? “I’d say the most important thing is how patient you have to be.  For me, it’s amazing how much these cars change and how much you can be so far back and then back in the mix in 20 or 30 laps.  The other important thing, I think was just running in traffic and having the chance to make laps and run the whole time.  Again having a crew like this behind me makes this so much better.”

A LOT OF THE CARS CAME BACK WITH SOME DAMAGE; YOUR FUSION LOOKS PRETTY CLEAN.  HOW DID YOU KEEP IT SCRATCH-FREE? “Our goal was to finish the race and that’s what we did. We didn’t take any chances; we weren’t racing anybody that hard.  I just kind of wanted to stay out of everyone’s way and run my laps, get some experience driving a Ford car and we did that.  I’m ready to go onto to Chicago and pick it up a notch.” Ford Racing PR

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