Bayne ran a lap at 190.170 miles per hour to take the 11th starting spot. It was the 12th time in the team’s past 13 Sprint Cup races that Bayne and his Wood Brothers team out qualified all the other go-or-go-home teams not locked into the starting field.
Bayne, who has never qualified worse than 11th in his three Cup starts at Talladega, said his crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have a knack for building fast cars at Daytona and Talladega, the two tracks where restrictor plates are used to reduce speeds.
“I am really proud of this team for bringing a fast superspeedway car once again,” he said. “They do that every single time it seems like.”
Saturday’s qualifying session saw six Ford Fusions in the top 11, but Len Wood; co-owner of the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Ford Fusion, said his focus is on Sunday’s race.
“I’m looking forward to making up for what we missed at Daytona,” Wood said, in reference to a Lap 2 crash that knocked Bayne out of contention in the Daytona 500. “In practice, our car was pretty fast in race trim.”
While many in the garage are bracing for a hot afternoon on Sunday; one that could tax both man and machine, Wood isn’t too worried.
“We’ve been down here in July when it was so hot you had to sit on a block of ice,” he said.
“Pulling out of the draft and getting a little air to the radiator is going to be part of the deal. We’re just going to have to run a conservative race and position ourselves for the end.”
The Aaron’s 499 is set to get the green flag at noon (1 p.m. Eastern) on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.