Trevor Bayne and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion tried some of the best plays in their strategy book at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, but in the end they had to settle for a 21st-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400.
Any disappointment from the afternoon was offset by the fact that the team’s long-time partner Ford Motor Company became the inaugural winner of the Michigan Heritage trophy, which will be awarded to the winning manufacturer of Sprint Cup races at MIS for years to come. The trophy, inspired by professional hockey’s Stanley Cup, celebrates the spirit of the automobile and its importance to the Michigan track, which is the home turf of the U.S. automobile industry.
“We certainly want to congratulate Roger Penske and Joey Logano on their victory,” said Len Wood, co-owner of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford. “When any Ford wins, we all win.”
Ford and Wood’s team have been a big part of NASCAR history at Michigan. Of Ford’s league-leading 34 Cup victories at Michigan, the Woods own 11. One of their greatest drivers, David Pearson, still leads all drivers in Michigan victories with nine, all of which came in either Ford or Mercury race cars.
While Bayne and the Woods will have to wait for another Sunday to try to deliver Ford another Michigan Heritage trophy, they were encouraged by the team’s performance in the Pure Michigan 400.
Bayne started 18th and held his own through the opening laps. With teams on various pit strategies, Bayne wound up getting all the way into the lead before pitting on Lap 48.
Time after time, his Motorcraft/Quick Lane over-the-wall crew members helped him keep track position with their quick work on pit road.
At one point he gained 10 positions in a single two-tire stop.
“The pit crew did a great job all day,” Wood said. “Even when we changed four tires we were able to gain positions, and they made adjustments on several stops and still got us off pit road in good shape.”
The team’s strategists, led by crew chief Donnie Wingo, also were at their best, even if circumstances, mostly caution flags, didn’t fall in their favor.
“We had a fuel-mileage strategy working twice, but because of the way the cautions fell it didn’t work out,” Wood said. “The race wound up with a lot of short green-flag runs, which we did not need.”