Trevor Bayne and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion did just that on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway as Bayne turned a lap at 180.638 miles per hour to earn the 28th starting position for Sunday’s Geico 400.
While a 28th-place effort doesn’t sound like something to be celebrated, it was the best result of the teams outside the top 35 in car owner points and therefore not assured of a starting position. And it’s not a true indicator of how the car will perform under race conditions.
Bayne, being in a vulnerable “go or go-home” position, couldn’t afford to take chances on a qualifying lap, so a conservative approach was appropriate under the circumstances. But for a race driver, that’s always a little disappointing.
“Well, we are in but it isn’t exactly what I wanted,” Bayne said. “We have been pretty fast all weekend, so we definitely wanted to be top-15 in qualifying here.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that while Bayne may be a bit disappointed, he accomplished the team’s primary objective for Saturday.
“He got in the race,” Wood said. “That’s what he was supposed to do.”
Both Wood and Bayne are optimistic that Sunday’s end result will be more satisfying.
“I think it will be good in race trim, so I am ready to start this thing,” Bayne said.
The Geico 400 is scheduled to get the green flag on Sunday just after 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern) with TV coverage on ESPN.