The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team heads into this weekend’s Pure Michigan 400 with high hopes after having a fast Ford Fusion in the most recent race at Michigan International Speedway. It was even faster during the Goodyear tire test at the recently paved track.
Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers team didn’t get the finish they were hoping for in Michigan back in mid-June because of an engine problem that occurred just after the start, but they did have a good car.
Bayne was third fastest in that first practice and sixth in the second. He qualified seventh at over 200 miles per hour and was running seventh when the problem occurred .
Crew chief Donnie Wingo said he and the team used the July 30 Goodyear tire test at Michigan to fine-tune their set-up for the No. 21 Ford Fusion. They ran the same car they raced in June at the test and will run it in the Pure Michigan 400 this weekend.
“We started the test with the car like it was for the start of the race in June,” Wingo said.
“Then we kept going further in the same direction with the set-up.”
“It seemed to be better.”
Indeed, Bayne was able to drive deeper into the corners and ran lap times comparable to the best cars at the test. The team got to use the extra time on the track to try some other chassis tweaks as well.
“We were able to do some things that we don’t have time to do on a regular race weekend,” Wingo said. “Everything went really well at the test.”
Sunday’s race, the second on the track since it was repaved, likely will see track position as critical as it ever has been in Sprint Cup racing, Wingo said.
That likely means a lot of two-tire or no-tire stops, he said.
“The amount of fuel you need will determine how many tires you take on a pit stop,” he said, adding that teams will start the race figuring how to get to the finish with as few pit stops as possible.
“You’ll run the race backward to a certain degree,” he said.
Qualifying for the Pure Michigan 400 is set for 4:10 p.m. on Friday, and the race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on ESPN.