The Good Sam/Camping World Ford Fusion that Bayne will drive this weekend is the same car he ran at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29. That race was the first for that particular chassis, and it performed well, as Bayne finished 17th, on the lead lap, in a track-position race that saw many top teams and drivers mired in mid-pack, unable to improve their positions.
In addition to the successes Bayne had at Indy, the youngster is coming off a spirited run at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he drove from his 32nd starting position to finish 16th, also on the lead lap.
Wingo said he expects another strong run in this weekend’s Geico 400.
“It’s the second time out for this car, and I feel pretty good about it,” Wingo said, adding that Bayne’s experience at Atlanta in his first Sprint Cup start at that track should pay off in Chicago.
“That race track is getting a little bit like Atlanta,” he said. “It’s not as rough as Atlanta, but it’s getting some character to it. We should be able to go off some of the notes we have from Atlanta.”
Wingo also said that as the weekend went on at Atlanta, Bayne was able to adjust to the rapid tire wear and the resulting drop-off in speeds as the tires wore down on the weathered asphalt. Among the important aspects of tire management, gaining the most ground one can when the tires are new is probably the most critical.
“Once we got in the race he did a lot better and the pit crew had one of their best races of the year,” Wingo said, adding that as the team gets into a portion of the schedule where they’re running fairly frequently, Bayne and the pit crew will be able to get into a rhythm that should help them maximize their performances.
This weekend’s race marks the start of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup, and Wingo and the Wood Brothers team plan to run the race like they do any other.
Qualifying for the Geico 400 is set for Saturday at 1:40 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is set to get the green flag at 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on ESPN.