In Trevor Bayne’s brief, 20-race Sprint Cup career, there are only two tracks where he and his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team have raced three times. One is Daytona International Speedway, and everyone knows how that’s turned out.
The other is Texas Motor Speedway, where Bayne made his first Cup start and where he’s set to compete in Saturday’s Samsung Mobile 500. It’s also the track where last fall Bayne got his first Nationwide Series victory, driving a Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.
That track record, combined with the momentum of a strong ninth-place finish in the Wood Brothers’ most recent race – at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 11 – have crew chief Donnie Wingo anxious to get back to the track this weekend.
“Texas was the first place we went with Trevor when he first started out, and we’re coming off a good run at Las Vegas,” Wingo said. “We’re taking the same car. It’s a similar track, and we’ve got some pretty good notes.
“Hopefully we’ve got something better to go back with than what we had last time.”
Wingo and the Wood Brothers team have only run twice this season, but the veteran crew chief doesn’t see that as a major disadvantage. Their part-time schedule focuses on the intermediate, 1.5-mile tracks, so missing races in places like Bristol and Martinsville doesn’t lead to a competitive disadvantage. And, the team works closely with the other Ford Fusion teams, so there’s plenty of good data to draw on.
“I don’t think we’ve missed out on anything,” Wingo said. “I think we’ll be fine.”
Wingo said Bayne isn’t racing in the Nationwide Series race at Texas, so he’ll be able to give the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion his undivided attention.
“It’s hard trying to go back and forth because the cars are so different,” Wingo said. “I think he’s looking forward to it. He’s pretty pumped up about being able to concentrate on just one car.”
Wingo said Bayne also is pumped up about racing under the lights, although as a crew chief he prefers running in the afternoon on a hot, slick race track, when handling becomes more of a factor.
“But I’m not the one driving,” Wingo said. “Trevor seems to like the night races more because the cars have more grip and don’t slide around as much.”
Qualifying for the Samsung Mobile 500 is set for Friday at 5:40 p.m. (6:40 Eastern Time), and the race is set to get the green flag Saturday night just after 6:30 p.m. (7:30 Eastern) with TV coverage on FOX.