Trevor Bayne stood up to the pressures of making his Sprint Cup debut in one of the sport’s most famous cars at NASCAR’s fastest track and brought the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion home with a very respectable 17th-place finish in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Bayne’s day didn’t start as smoothly as he would have liked, as he had to drop from his 28th starting position to the rear of the field for the start of the race because of a transmission change. But once the green flag flew he drove toward the front and ran as high as 14th during the 500. He had to overcome some frustrating moments on pit road – though no fault of his own or his crew - but each time he made up the lost positions once he returned to the track. Naturally, he said afterward that he was pleased with the way things turned out in his first race in NASCAR’s elite division.
“That was awesome man,” Bayne said. “We had a terrible pit stall because we were right with the guys we were racing with, and I couldn’t get it in and out and got boxed in a few times.
“We had to pass so many cars, like 10 or 15 a run until pit stops. Finally [David] Reutimann helped me out and stayed over to the left in his box and that really helped us.”
Bayne said driving the Wood Brothers’ Ford Fusion was a far different experience that what he’d known racing in the Nationwide Series, where the 19-year-old standout has just 48 career starts.
“That was incredible,” he said. “These things are so much fun. I wish I could do it every weekend. It was a blast to drive, and to be that fast for a first run is incredible.
“Donnie Wingo, everybody at Wood Brothers Racing and Roush Fenway and Ford I want to thank for giving me this opportunity. I don’t really know what to say. That was as good or better than we expected so I am really pumped about it.”
Bayne’s finish was the seventh top-25 run for the Wood Brothers in just 12 starts this season, but team owner Eddie Wood said that when the years go by, the Texas race likely will be known as much for being Bayne’s debut as anything else that happened that day.
He said Bayne showed great poise and was very comfortable behind the wheel.
“Trevor did a great job for his first race, especially with the pressure of having to qualify on speed,” Wood said. “In the race, he drove like he’d been driving these cars for years. He already has the savvy of a veteran.”
Wood ought to know. Over the past 60 years, his team has employed some of the most talented and experienced racers NASCAR has ever known.
The Wood Brothers and the Motocraft/Quick Lane crew return to the track in two weeks for the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.