The hurried practice schedule on Friday at Chicagoland Speedway presented a major challenge for teams like the Wood Brothers who aren’t locked into a starting spot for Saturday’s LifeLock.com 400. With just two short sessions with only a brief break in between, the team had to divide its efforts between preparing for the race and working on a qualifying set-up that will get them in the show.
But when it came time to “go or go home” in qualifying, driver Bill Elliott and the crew of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion stepped up in a big way, bettering their best speed of the day by more than three miles per hour to safely secure a starting spot in the race.
Elliott and the familiar red No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion will line up 29th for Saturday’s 400 miler. Team co-owner Eddie Wood said the David Hyder-led crew followed its game plan on Friday, spending the first practice session doing race runs then switched over to a qualifying set-up. But it was a bold call at the last minute by Hyder and Elliott that made the most difference when a place on the starting grid was at stake.
“Hyder made some major chassis changes right in the middle of qualifying practice,” Wood said. “It worked just like he’d hoped it would, and Bill picked up more than a half a second over what our best lap was in practice.” In major league auto racing, a half-second a lap makes a tremendous difference. For the Wood Brothers, it was the difference in making the race and going home early. “We’re just happy to be in the show,” Wood said.
The LifeLock.com 400 will be televised on TNT, with the green flag set to fly at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.