Trevor Bayne’s return to his Daytona 500-winning ride, the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, is off to a strong start as he qualified 17th for Sunday’s Heluva Good 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Bayne’s lap at 187.032 miles per hour was third best among the Ford contingent and one that pleased the young driver on the rebound from an illness.
“That was pretty good,” Bayne said. “I got a little bit free off [the turns] and couldn’t get the gas down.
“I am happy with that run right there. I think we will be really good in the race.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood was equally optimistic about the team’s prospects for Sunday’s race.
“We’ve got a really good engine package,” he said. “We’re happy about that. And we had a really good lap going in qualifying, probably a top-five run, until the car got a little free off Turn Four.”
In his post-qualifying comments, Bayne also acknowledged the loyalty his Wood Brothers team has shown him during the time he was unable to race.
“I am glad to be back in both the [Nationwide and Sprint Cup] cars but especially the 21,” he said. “It has been a long time. I am excited they held the cars for me, and I get to drive them again.”
The Woods said throughout Bayne’s illness and recovery that they would remain loyal to their driver.
“We’re happy to be running well, but most of all, we’re excited to have Trevor back and to get back to our normal way of racing,” Eddie Wood said.
The Heluva Good 400 is set to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on TNT.