So far, Trevor Bayne’s first racing adventure on the home turf of his Wood Brothers racing team is going just fine. He and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion are adapting to the tricky Martinsville Speedway, where they’ll start 25th in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500. And he and crew chief Donnie Wingo got a warm welcome from an overflow crowd at the Wood Brothers’ home shop in nearby Stuart on Friday night.
“This is really, really cool,” Bayne said of his weekend in southern Virginia.
He especially liked the gathering in Stuart, which also featured three generations of the Wood Brothers family, including three original racing brothers Ray Lee, Leonard and Glen, along with their sister Crystal.
“We thought we would do a couple hours from 7-9 (p.m.), and we ended up signing autographs until midnight last night for 4,000 fans,” he said. “So it was a really good turnout. It’s awesome to see the hometown support here.”
From Stuart on Friday, it was on to Martinsville on Saturday, where Bayne turned a lap at 95.256 miles per hour, tying fellow Ford driver Matt Kenseth.
“We had a little bit of a pickup today in qualifying, so that’s good for us,” Bayne said. “This isn’t a track that’s normally easy for first-time drivers, and I saw the effects of that yesterday, but I think we’re getting better as we go.”
Wingo pointed out that while Martinsville, at a half-mile, is one of the shorter tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit, it’s by no means an easy place for a rookie to figure out.
“I told Trevor that Martinsville is one of the toughest places for a young driver,” Wingo said. It’s just so different from anywhere else we race.”
Wingo added that Bayne has talked to other drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to speed up his learning curve, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team also has shared information with their fellow Ford teams over at Roush Fenway Racing.
Heading into Sunday’s 500, Wingo is optimistic that he and the team will have a good day.
He’s chosen a pit stall alongside the straightaway, which should provide a fairly favorable entry and exit during pit stops, and his driver is continuing to study just what he needs to do to be successful at Martinsville.
“Everything’s good,” Wingo said.
The Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 is set to get the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.