For a driver with just 36 career Sprint Cup starts, Trevor Bayne has a good bit of experience at Texas Motor Speedway, where he’s set to drive the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion in Saturday night’s NRA 500.
It was at Texas in the fall of 2010 that Bayne made his first career Cup start, driving the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion to a strong 17th-place finish and almost as importantly, impressing NASCAR officials enough that they approved him to run the Daytona 500 in 2011, a race he won.
Bayne also got his first Nationwide Series victory at Texas, in the fall of 2011 driving the No. 16 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.
On the Cup side, Bayne has five career starts at Texas, more than any other track except Daytona, where he also has five, and that alone has his crew chief Donnie Wingo looking forward to getting back to the track this weekend for the Wood Brothers’ third race of 2013.
“Trevor’s experiences at Texas give him more confidence going in,” he said. “And with it being a night race, he seems to do better when the track has more grip.”
Wingo is taking two Ford Fusions to Texas – one to use in a special test session on Thursday and another one, the same Ford Fusion Bayne raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year, for the NRA 500.
“Even though the test Thursday will be with a different car it’ll help us get a baseline set-up for the race,” Wingo said. “And the schedule, with two practices on Friday, will allow us to use the first session to get a better handle on the race set-up.”
The veteran crew chief also likes what he sees on the weather map, as the forecast for Friday calls for sunny skies, which should allow qualifying to be held as scheduled, which almost always is a best-case scenario for a part-time team like the Wood Brothers that has to qualify on speed to make races.
“The last time we were at Texas we qualified seventh,” Wingo said.
Qualifying for the NRA 500 is set for Friday at 6:40 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on SPEED. The race is set to get the green flag on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with TV coverage on FOX.