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BRAUN: Indianapolis Debrief

CORE autosport’s Colin Braun files his column from Indy…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

It was really cool being able to race at Indianapolis last week. It’s a track I’ve been going to since I was a kid with my dad when he was working for IndyCar teams, but I’ve never had the chance to race there before even in my NASCAR days.

The road course at Indy was totally new to us. We looked at the layout as best we could on the computer and obviously there was the IndyCar race there earlier in the year. Jon and I watched the IndyCar race to get some ideas where passing zones are.

That’s the best we can prepare without testing. It’s difficult to be able to go and test all the time and we didn’t have a chance to test at Indianapolis, but other PC teams did.

I know that the RSR team sort of picked what compound of tire the PC class would run on at Indianapolis. That was their tire choice and I think it worked well for everyone, but obviously it’s an advantage when you get to pick the tire.

I really enjoyed the circuit and the layout of the track. When we first got out there, I was a little unsure, because we did our track walk and I noticed a lot of the turns looked really tight.

But once we started making laps, it actually had a better rhythm than a lot of the tracks that we go to. It really had a good flow that made it fun to drive on.

Once we got into the race though, it became a one-lane track because there was so much debris, marbles and what not off line that it really made it hard to pass.

I was really surprised at all the marbles out there. I don’t know if it was because we had the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race right before the start of our race and they didn’t have enough time to sweep off the track?

Maybe it was something about the way the surface of track worked with the Continental rubber? It was the sort of build up that you’d see at the end of the 24 Hours of Daytona and not what you’d expect in the shorter races.

A lot of the corners were really tight, so it made it a real challenge to pass. As soon as you went off line you’d pick up all this debris on your tires. Then, the guy that you’re passing, who was on line, doesn’t have anything on his tires, so he’s able to carry more speed than you are.

Indy was a strange race for us. I thought we had a really good car in practice and certainly a good car in qualifying. I’m still a little perplexed about what happened.

We just didn’t have the pace to keep up with the RSR cars. They just flat out beat us. It’s frustrating to get beat when you go into the race thinking you have a fast race car, but it was still a good day for points.

We’ll keep working hard like we always do. We’re trying to learn from it and get better. We’ll keep pressing forward and see what we can do at Road America.

With the two-day schedule, it was a little bit tough to chat up some of my NASCAR friends. They pretty much did all their practice before lunch on Friday and our stuff started after lunch on Friday. There wasn’t really a chance to catch up with old friends.

I did get a chance to catch up with a lot of fans at the autograph session! It sounds like you all approve of my co-hosting duties on MRN’s Sports Car Insider! Thanks for letting me know you enjoy my comments on the show. It sounds like we’re getting a lot of people excited and educated about sports car racing!

I wasn’t able to stick around for the NASCAR races because I had to head to Mosport and do some driver coaching with some clients of mine in the Radical series that I’ve worked with for the past couple of years.

I had an early morning flight on Saturday, then drove right from the airport to the race track. We had a pretty good event, six races in all and we had five podiums, three race wins and a couple poles and fastest race laps. All in all it was a good weekend!

Colin Braun (@colinbraun) is a sports car racing standout and former NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series driver, driving for Meyer Shank Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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