Bayne and his Wood Brothers Ford Fusion were atop the speed chart after Happy Hour practice, then were the best of the “go-or-go-home drivers in qualifying for Saturday’s Samsung Mobile 500.
In the final practice, Bayne had a best lap of 184.641 miles per hour, leading a group of three Fusion drivers at the top of the speed chart.
In qualifying he posted a lap at 188.186 mph to earn the 19th starting spot. It was the 11th time in the team’s past 12 Sprint Cup races that they outran all the other teams not locked into the field.
Bayne said he was satisfied with his qualifying effort, but as usual he was wanting more.
“I feel like it was OK,” he said. I just couldn’t get the gas down on exit. I was trying to roll to it, but I kept having to back off and pump it. That slowed us down.”
But overall he was pleased.
“I feel really happy with our run,” he said.
His Happy Hour speed was what seemed to matter the most to him.
“Unfortunately it doesn’t pay to win practice, but it builds your confidence and makes your guys feel better and shows we have a good race car,” he said. “Hopefully it will be on top when it matters tomorrow night.”
The Samsung Mobile 500 is set to get the green flag Saturday night just after 6:30 p.m. (7:30 Eastern) with TV coverage on FOX.