The Wood Brothers team will be ready for action in Daytona, despite numerous problems with the weather. Throughout the last few weeks, they have battled rain in Daytona during the test, a postponed Talladega test due to a snow covered track, and sleet on the roadways in the southeast this week. Despite all of this, nothing stopped Donnie Wingo and the Wood Brothers from arriving at Daytona International Speedway with a Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion ready to race.
Wingo and the Motorcraft Quick/Lane team kicked off the Woods’ 64th NASCAR season – and the team’s 14th with Motorcraft/Quick Lane colors on the sides of the iconic No. 21 – in January with a planned two-day test in advance of the 56th annual Daytona 500.
When rain washed out the first day, Wingo, Trevor Bayne, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team returned for the second day and literally ran from daylight to dark, turning 47 laps in a rain-delayed session before the track closed at 9 p.m.
Wingo felt there was more speed to be found, so he scheduled a test at Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway, only to have the first test snowed out. Even the second test, last week, was delayed by snow, but the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team got in a full two days of testing with the car that will be the back-up for the Daytona 500 entry that was run in the January test.
“The Daytona 500 is so important to our team that we felt we really needed to test more, and Talladega was our best option,” said team co-owner Eddie Wood, as the Woods’ work toward a sixth Daytona 500 triumph. “It had been a long time since anyone tested at Talladega, and it was like old-school testing. We were there by ourselves for the most part, and when you got ready to go out on the track, you didn’t have to wait on anybody, you just went.”
Back at home base in Charlotte, Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team continued to fine-tune the car, taking it to the wind tunnel three times, including one session at 6 a.m. Tuesday, just before the car was loaded for an early trip to Daytona to avoid being caught in the sleet and ice storm that wreaked havoc on the highways around the Carolinas and Georgia.
“There’s been a lot of work done on this car since the Daytona test. I’m sure if there was more time, Donnie and the crew would still be working on it. Teams never stop until its time to load.”
Wood also likes the tweaks that have been done to the paint scheme.
“It’s still Motorcraft red, white and gold, but the Motorcraft/Quick Lane logos are a little different. I think they look racier, and they’re easier to read on the track.”
Qualifying for the 56th annual Daytona 500 is set for Sunday, Feb. 16, at 1:05 p.m. Eastern Time. The 150-mile qualifying races are scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., and the Daytona 500 is set to get the green flag on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m.