The sunshine in turn three at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday hampered Trevor Bayne on his qualifying lap, but a sunny day was just what Bayne and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion needed to qualify for the Wood Brothers’ 1,400th Sprint Cup start.
Should the rain have made its way to the track just 2 hours sooner, most likely qualifying would’ve been cancelled. The Woods, with their limited schedule, would have missed the race, as they had the fewest attempts to qualify at this point in the season, of the teams entered in the Coca-Cola 600.
Bayne will line up 29th for his team’s milestone start, and just being in the starting field is a great relief, and a proud moment, for team co-owner Eddie Wood.
“We all feel very fortunate to be where we are today,” Wood said. “We couldn’t have done it without having great drivers in our cars over the years, from my dad in the beginning to Trevor Bayne today.”
“And we couldn’t have done it without the support of Ford Motor Company. They’ve been right there with us through the great times and the struggles.”
“The people at Ford and Motorcraft/Quick Lane have been like family to us for more than 60 years.”
The significance of 1,400 starts wasn’t lost on Bayne, but he’s more focused on the present, and a bit disappointed in the outcome of his qualifying lap of 190.409 miles per hour, which represented a significant improvement over his best lap in practice, which was at 188.022 mph.
“The results aren’t what we wanted at all, but the thing was stuck through [turns] one and two,” he said. “I felt like we had to be on the pole off of two, but then I got over to turn three where the sun was shining, and it was just so hot and slick”
“If we could have gone out late at night, I honestly think we had a shot at the pole as good as our car was in the shaded areas. In those hot areas we were just way too tight.”
Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew return to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday for two practice sessions, then on Sunday, the Coca-Cola 600 is set to get the green flag just after 6 p.m. with TV coverage on FOX.