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Published: Sunday, 4/20/2008

19-year-old takes NASCAR pole in Mexico

Colin Braun, 19, earned the pole in only his second start in the Nationwide Series. Colin Braun, 19, earned the pole in only his second start in the Nationwide Series.

MEXICO CITY - Colin Braun beat out a man nearly 30 years his senior yesterday to win the pole for the Corona Mexico 200.

Braun, a 19-year-old making his third start on NASCAR's Nationwide Series, posted a fast lap of 102.756 mph in his Ford to edge 48-year-old Scott Pruett. Defending series champion Carl Edwards was third.

"I'm really proud of that whole team," Braun said. "We ran through a whole bunch of changes. It shows how much work those guys have put in."

Braun of Ovalo, Texas, had five years of road course experience before joining Roush Fenway Racing. He earned one pole and two second-place finishes in the Rolex Grand Am Daytona Prototype Series.

Braun's only Nationwide start this year was last month at Nashville Superspeedway, where he finished 15th.

This race, on the 2.518-mile road course at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, appeared to suit him.

"I believe he is the guy to beat tomorrow in this race," said Edwards, Braun's teammate with Roush.

Pruett qualified second in his Dodge this year with a lap of 102.651. Pruett took the pole at this event last year in a race Juan Pablo Montoya won.

"We got a little greedy. I just didn't want the car to be tight, and we went too far," Pruett said. "We bumped up the rear tire pressure quite a bit, and unfortunately I couldn't drive the car the way I wanted to."

Edwards won the Nationwide title last year without a single pole. He is second in the point standings this year, although he is still trying for his first victory on the series in 2008.

Edwards will start in the No. 3 spot for the sixth time in nine Nationwide races this year.

Marcos Ambrose qualified fourth, and Boris Said was fifth. Kyle Busch, who has won two straight Nationwide races, was sixth, followed by Patrick Carpentier. Clint Bowyer, the current series points leader, qualified eighth.

Sam Hornish Jr. was 11th, and local favorite Michel Jourdain of Mexico was 20th.

In the three years this race has been run, the winner started second once and third twice. Jourdain obviously hopes that trend changes.

"I think most people know enough to know this is such a long race. I think it's just about finishing and being there at the end," he said.

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