After a strong start to Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion were involved in a multi-car accident on lap 22 that led to a trip to the garage for major repairs and a 41st-place finish.
Bayne, who had to start in the rear because of a driver change from qualifying, had a goal of making it into the top 30 before a planned competition caution flag at lap 20. He had surpassed that with ease and was 28th when Danica Patrick lost control and triggered a nine-car crash that left the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion with damage to the radiator, oil cooler and front-end body work.
“We had something we could work with,” Bayne said of his car, which was driven in practice and qualifying by Ryan Blaney. “It’s pretty easy to get through those first 10 to 15 cars, but when you get to about 25th, the pace picks up and it’s more difficult to pass.
“We were almost to that point, and we were just going to keep working on the car and try to get it to turn better. We could have had a good run, but we got caught up in somebody else’s mess.”
Bayne said there was little he could do to avoid being swept up in the crash.
“I couldn’t really see much in front of me,” he said. “I was following the 7 car [Michael Annett] or whoever was in front of me, and the next thing I know three cars slid down in front of us, I got on the brakes hard and couldn’t get it slowed down in time. It wasn’t much of a hit, but it doesn’t take much to damage these things.”
The otherwise disappointing situation provided the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team an opportunity to shine, and the crew delivered in fine fashion. They replaced the radiator and oil cooler as well as patching up the aerodynamically sensitive sheet metal at the front of the No. 21 Ford Fusion and had Bayne back on the track for the final two-thirds of the race on a day that Ford Motor Company board member Edsel B. Ford II was watching from atop the team’s pit box.
“They did a really good job of putting the car back together,” team co-owner Len Wood said. “We didn’t have to come back in to fix any tire rubs or anything. They got it right the first time.”
Bayne too had good words for his fellow members of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, whose next scheduled return to the Sprint Cup circuit will be on Oct. 17-19 for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“I hate that for these guys who work so hard,” he said. “Hopefully next time we don’t have that kind of luck.”