For the Wood Brothers team it would have been humiliating to have their No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion painted in the iconic candy apple red colors with Leonard Wood’s picture on the hood to fail to qualify at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
So it wasn’t surprising to see smiles all around when Trevor Bayne posted the 18th-quickest lap in qualifying, thereby assuring that the Wood Brothers Ford Fusion would be in the show on Sunday and that the celebration of Leonard Wood’s upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame could continue as planned.
Bayne posted a lap at 180.390 miles per hour, best among the drivers not assured of starting spots for Sunday’s Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400. He said afterwards that he might have been a little too conservative on his qualifying lap.
“I think the car was on a little more than I was right there in qualifying,” he said. “When you are leaving pit road the last thought in your mind is that we have to make the show on time and aren’t locked in. That causes you to leave more on the table than you want to…
“I don’t feel like I got every ounce out of it.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood was relieved nonetheless.
“The first step was to get in the show,” he said. “A lot of people were depending on us to get in the race.”
Wood said he did have an encouraging sign on Saturday morning before qualifying. Mari Hulman George, the chairman of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and for decades a prominent leader in the world of motorsports, stopped by and signed the hood of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion.
“That was really cool,” Wood said, adding that the signature already has been preserved for posterity. “We’re just proud to know her. Getting her to sign the car is a bonus.”
The Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard is set to get the green flag on Sunday at 1 p.m. with TV coverage on ESPN.