Trevor Bayne and his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will line up on the outside of the second row for Sunday’s 43rd annual Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway after posting a qualifying lap of 181.011 miles per hour, best among Ford drivers and best of the drivers who had to make the starting field through their qualifying times.
Bayne said that when it comes to qualifying on superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega, it’s the crew that deserves most of the credit.
“I think that shows how much work the 21 guys put into these cars,” he said. “They do a great job at the superspeedways, and the work shows up here. It is all about speed, and our car has it. I think it is a solid run for our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion.”
Now it’s on to Sunday’s race, where Bayne and his Donnie Wingo-led crew will have to come up with a plan to succeed in the two-car “tandem” racing that has become the norm at Daytona and Talladega.
“Hopefully we can keep it up there all day,” Bayne said. “Qualifying doesn’t really matter once the green flag drops with all the drafting that is going on. You will move around from the back to the front and back again. We will hang out and see who we hook up with.”
Bayne and Wingo say the logical plan would be to hook up with another driver from the Ford camp, but since that’s a group of seven and the Wood Brothers are a one-car team, they’re the odd man out when it comes to a drafting partner.
Wingo said the pre-race plan is for Bayne to try to initially hook up with someone who qualified close to the front, then go from there.
“We’ll see how it all shakes out,” Wingo said. “We’ll just see who’s available to draft with.”
Wingo said he’s not worried that Bayne didn’t participate in drafting practice on Friday as he and the team were concentrating on qualifying.
“Trevor was able to come here and run a full day during the [Electronic Fuel Injection] test,” he said. “He got back in his rhythm running with David Ragan.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he’s not overly concerned that his team is heading into Sunday without a definite drafting plan, especially since his driver and team are this year’s Daytona 500 winners.
“I’m sure we’ll have one by the time the race is over,” he said.
The Good Sam Club 500 is set to get the green flag on Sunday just after 2 p.m. Eastern with TV coverage on ESPN.