With the 2013 Sprint Cup season hitting the homestretch, and just three weeks remaining before the season-ending Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, race teams in every major NASCAR series are picking up the work pace in hopes of going into the off-season with the momentum that comes from a great finish.
Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, despite running a limited schedule, have been in high gear for the past several weeks. They participated in a NASCAR test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, raced at Talladega Superspeedway, tested two days this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway and are set to run two of the Sprint Cup circuit’s final three races – at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend and the Ford 400 at Homestead in two weeks.
“We’ve been really, really busy,” said team co-owner Eddie Wood. “It’s good to be back at the track on a regular basis.”
Wood said that while his family’s team strives to run well every time out, a strong performance in the Ford 400 at Homestead is especially important for him and his team.
“All our friends from Ford Motor Company will be there,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest events of the year.”
First, there’s this weekend’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Wood said he’s more than ready to race again at Texas, where Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion have shown great potential in recent races, even if the final results haven’t reflected it.
“We’ve always run well there,” he said. “Something always seems to happen that keeps us from being able to finish off a race.”
From an experience standpoint, Texas is one of the few places on the Sprint Cup schedule where the 22-year-old Bayne isn’t hampered by a lack of track time. Although he has just 44 career Cup starts, he has six at Texas, more than any other 1.5-mile track he’s raced on. In addition to his Cup starts, he has a Nationwide Series victory there in the fall of 2011.
To help Bayne capitalize on that experience, crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have prepared chassis No. 745, which made its competitive debut earlier this year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where it carried a special paint scheme to honor Henry Ford’s 150th birthday.
“It’s our best downforce car,” Wood said.
Qualifying for the AAA Texas 500 is set for 3:40 p.m. (4:40 Eastern Time) on Friday, with the green flag set to fly on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (3:30 Eastern).