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BRAUN: Monterey Debrief

Colin Braun checks into Sportscar365 following Monterey…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Greetings from Hawaii! On Monday morning we were on a plane for a little vacation time. I wish we were here celebrating a win, but instead it’s more relaxing from a challenging weekend in Monterey.

We knew this weekend was going to be tough from the get go with only two one-hour practice sessions.

Unfortunately we missed half of our practice time, we had an alternator issue in the second practice. The guys did a great job changing that part out but we had to give up second practice to make sure we got it done for qualifying!  It really put us behind the eight ball though.

We didn’t get a good idea of what the track would be like and what changes we needed to make going into qualifying. We were playing catch-up in qualifying, the warm-up and into the race.

Watching the first half of the race in pit lane, I saw the incident happen between Jon and the Starworks car and I knew it was pretty close to the time I needed to get in the car so I got ready to go and waited to see what the situation was going to be.

Jon was doing a great job in the car so it was a bummer to see that contact!  The team did a really amazing job quickly changing out the suspension part and pretty soon we were back going again. That’s why this team has won three championships in a row—the crew was prepared and on it in pit lane.

Once the guys fixed the car up, Jon still needed a few more laps to get to his drive time in, so we had to come back in again to get me in the car. By that time we were four laps down.

It was frustrating, but that’s part of what happens in racing. We’ve had a lot of good things go our way since the start of the season, and now we’ve experienced the flip side. It happens all the time, that’s what makes this sport what it is.

I think we all expected with the amount of cars in our group that we’d have quite a few yellows, but we had very few yellows. As soon as I got in the car, we didn’t have any more of them. That was unfortunate because we thought we could make up a couple laps that way. Obviously that didn’t happen.

Having the races split was something we had to do with the limited amount of room we had on pit lane. It was unique for sure and the race felt really short.

Typically we have longer races at Laguna. It was a surprise to hear how short the race would be because everyone enjoys driving there and we have had everything from six-hour to two-hour and 45-minute races there in the past.

We did have a lot of fun while we were at Laguna though. Saturday was Military Appreciation Day and we had some servicemen come by and gave them a tour. It was fun to show them things they’d never seen before and to see this world through their eyes reminds you how cool this sport is and how cool the jobs we have are.

Sunday was Jon Bennett’s birthday and we got Jon a cake shaped like the PC car. It was cool to be able to have the whole team around to celebrate Jon’s birthday at the track. It’s just a shame we didn’t have some better finishes on track for him.

So since I’m in Hawaii this week I’ll miss my new co-hosting gig on MRN Radio’s SportsCar Insider show. I enjoyed doing that last week.

I went in unsure how different it would be from all the media interviews I’ve done in the past, but once I got into it, it’s quite a bit different. You have to come up with good questions that are interesting. You’ve got to be on your feet and have a good understanding of what’s going on in the sport. It gives me a lot of appreciation for what everyone does on the media side – it’s a tough job!

I don’t think I’m looking to retire to the TV booth just yet, that’s for sure! It’s fun and enjoyable to talk about a sport I love though, so I’ll be back in the MRN booth next week! Check it out on May 27 at 1pm ET.

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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