For the first two thirds of Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, rookie Trevor Bayne was giving the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, with its Glen Wood tribute paint scheme, a run like the ones Wood himself once delivered back in the day.
After qualifying 10th in his first Cup race at Charlotte, Bayne stayed among the top seven or eight for much of the race and was running a strong seventh when he ran out of fuel under the green flag.
Instead of continuing to contend for a top-five finish or better, he wound up trapped three laps down and finished a disappointing 31st.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said a problem with the car’s fuel system, one that is new to NASCAR this year and one that teams are required to use, likely kept the team from contending for a victory.
Wood said the first time the fueling issue came into play Bayne realized he was running dry and made it to pit road even though he should have been able to run three more laps.
The second time the problem occurred, with 97 laps to go, he was even further from his scheduled stop when he ran dry and stalled on the track.
“We really won’t know exactly what happened until we get it back to the shop,” Wood said. “It was really unfortunate because we had a shot at winning the race. It was the best shot we’ve had at a mile-and-a-half track all year.”
Bayne, who also gave the invocation prior to the start of the race, agreed that the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion was a potential winner.
“We had an easy top-five car,” he said. “I feel like this would have been another shot to win a race. That thing was just so fast. It was that way all weekend. On the long runs it was that good, and the whole race we didn’t adjust one thing and we were really competitive. There aren’t many nights when you get to do that and be that fast”.
“We didn’t get the finish we deserved, but it’s definitely a confidence-builder for the whole team to run that good all night. We want results, but they’ll come if we keep running that good.”
Bayne said there were a lot of Fusion drivers who were liking their cars at Charlotte. “At one point I looked up, and I think all but one car in the top seven were Fords and that was just really cool to see them that dominant at a track,” he said. “It’s cool that they got the win, but I wish it was the 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion in Victory Lane instead.”
Eddie Wood said that overall, he and the Wood Brothers team were upbeat about the night’s events. The team got to honor founder Glen Wood, who has been elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and some of the team’s original crew members – Leonard Wood, Delano Wood, Kenny Martin, Jack Kendrick and Cecil Wilson – were on hand and wearing Hinchman crew uniforms just like the ones they wore in the 1960s.
“It was a good night,” Wood said. “The car was fast. The pit crew was fast. Trevor did a great job. Daddy was there with most of his original crew members. Matt Kenseth won the race, and Carl Edwards kept the points lead so it was a good night for the Blue Oval.”
Wood went on to say that running competitively helps ease the pain that comes when a failed part takes the team out of contention.
“When you’re running well, you can deal with it when things go wrong,” he said.