Even though the Wood Brothers race team runs a partial Sprint Cup schedule, the Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway is a race the team eagerly anticipates.
There are the connections with their sponsor, Motorcraft/Quick Lane, and the race’s sponsor, Ford Motor Company. Just being able to participate in one of NASCAR’s showcase events is very mportant.
Assuming Trevor Bayne qualifies for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, it’ll mark 16 points-paying race appearances this season for Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew, a stretch that has seen them post four top-10 qualifying efforts and two top-10 race finishes. Sunday’s race also will be the last time Bayne and the Wood Brothers will compete using the current NASCAR version of the Ford Fusion.
Beginning next season, NASCAR’s Ford teams will begin racing a redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion. Fans and drivers can get a sneak peek at how that car will look this weekend as the 2013 Ford Fusion Titanium will serve as the official pace car.
Eddie Wood, co-owner of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, said he’s looking for one more good run from his team’s 2012 Ford Fusion then the focus will shift to the 2013 model.
“It’s going to look like the Fusions in the dealers’ showrooms and on the street, and that’s something NASCAR hasn’t had in a while,” Wood said. “There’s going to be lots of identity for Ford Motor Company and for all the other manufacturers.”
Wood said the new cars take NASCAR racing back to a time when fans and competitors paid close attention to every detail of the race cars, such as the shapes of the bodies and the designs created by the manufacturers.
Bayne and the Wood Brothers already have participated in two on-track tests with the 2013 Fusion, at Martinsville Speedway and Kansas Speedway, and Wood said those tests indicate that the new models also have the potential to make NASCAR’s on-track product even more exciting.
“The new car has a lot of adjustability in it, which NASCAR can use to help make the racing better,” he said. “I’m really impressed with its capabilities.”
The downside of bringing out a new car for the Wood Brothers and other race teams is that it’ll mean some long hours at the shop preparing new cars, but Wood said that’s really nothing new.
“It’s normal for race teams to work long hours getting ready for Daytona and the upcoming season,” he said.
Qualifying for the Ford EcoBoost 400 is set for Friday at 6:10 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is set to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on ESPN.