Colin Braun's sophomore season in the Camping World Truck Series has been a struggle with five finishes worse than 20th in the eight races, including four that ended prematurely in accidents.

Braun also has shown the speed to run up front. The Roush Fenway Racing driver put together his best race of 2009 by taking third at Texas last Friday. Braun's timing couldn't have been better, providing him with a confidence-building run heading into Saturday's Michigan 200 at Michigan International Speedway.

"I was hoping to get my first (series) win in my home state of Texas last weekend, but the next best thing would be to win at Michigan," Braun said. "This is home for Jack Roush, (sponsor) Con-way Freight and Ford Motor Company, so it would mean a lot to win here."

Roush Fenway has won the last two races and four of the nine run at the two-mile track west of Detroit. Last year, Erik Darnell edged Toyota driver Johnny Benson by inches, 0.005 seconds, in the closest truck race with electronic timing.

Braun, the team's sole entry in the series this season, had led 43 laps at Lowe's and four at Dover in the races leading up to Texas. He was taken out in a multicar accident at Lowe's, and a tire failure knocked him out at Dover.

"I feel like we've had some good runs lately, and it was nice to come to the chequered flag in one piece (at Texas)," Braun said.

Roush Fenway is the all-time leader in the series with 49 wins, and notching the 50th at MIS would be particularly meaningful for owner Jack Roush.

"Fifty wins in the truck series would really be keeping in concert with what our goal is: To set a lot of standards, to set a lot of high marks for ourselves and to enjoy the celebration of these standards with Ford," Roush said. "It would be great, since Ford has been such the leader in trucks on the public highways, to come back and get 50 in the truck series."

It also would be the first win for Ford this season in the series.

Benson, from Grand Rapids, Mich., seems unlikely to compete at Michigan, where he won his first truck race in 2006. After finishing fourth at Texas and moving up to seventh in the points, Benson and his #1 team were released by Red Horse Racing on Monday. Red Horse said it had not been able to raise the sponsorship to continue, catching Benson by surprise. Benson was in his first season with Red Horse after winning the truck championship last year with Bill Davis Racing.

Matt Crafton's second place at Texas boosted him into the points lead for the first time in his nine-season truck career. He leads Ron Hornaday Jr. by 30 points, Mike Skinner by 39 and Todd Bodine by 66.

by Tim Tuttle/Sporting News