The search for speed continues for the Wood Brothers and the crew of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. Trevor Bayne’s qualifying lap for the 2014 Daytona 500 of 194.334 miles per hour was just 26th fastest. As a result of their mid-pack qualifying effort, the team’s chances of making the starting field for the 56th running of The Great American Race likely hinge on a top-15 finish in the second of Thursday’s Budweiser Duel qualifying race. The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team searched tirelessly all winter-long for speed at Daytona, and this effort will continue for at least another four days.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that while his team is taking a realistic approach to the situation, there are still reasons to be optimistic.
“Now’s not the time to be down about the position we’re in,” he said. “We’ve been in difficult situations before and managed to come through when it counted. We’re plenty capable of doing it again.”
Wood spelled out the reasoning behind his optimism.
The qualifying times posted by fellow Ford team members Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing prove the Fords are as competitive as ever. Biffle qualified third and Edwards fourth, and both are locked into a starting position based on their qualifying speed, as the Daytona 500 has a qualifying format that’s both unique and steeped in tradition, unlike any other race in motorsports.
“Fords are fast,” Wood said. “We just need to figure out just what’s off with our car and make the appropriate changes. There was a headwind down the backstretch when we qualified, but it could be more than that.” he said.
The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team and crew chief Donnie Wingo has proven in the last month that they’re willing to go above and beyond to make their Ford Fusion faster.
“We didn’t have the speed we wanted in the test in January, so that’s why we went to Talladega and tested and why we were in the wind tunnel three times since then, and why we spent some long hours in the shop and at the track,” Wood said. “We’re obviously puzzled at this point, but we’ll keep working all the way through Thursday night and go out there and try to race our way into the Daytona 500.”
The 150-mile Budweiser Duel qualifying races are scheduled to start just after 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.