Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will spend this weekend supporting breast cancer survivors and raising awareness of the disease with a special Ford Warriors in Pink paint scheme.
Ford Motor Company has dedicated more than $115 million to the fight against breast cancer in the past 18 years, and 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of Warriors in Pink wear and gear will be dedicated to the cause.
Based on recent history, the Ford-backed program should get its share of fan and media attention.
Bayne leads all active drivers when it comes to qualifying at Talladega with an average starting position of 8.6. The Ford Fusion he will drive qualified second at Daytona last July and fourth at Talladega, last fall.
Still, crew chief Donnie Wingo won’t relax until qualifying is over, as the Wood Brothers team isn’t running a full schedule and therefore must qualify for the race on speed.
“We’ve been good in qualifying so far and haven’t had any issues, but until qualifying is over you can’t relax,” he said.
Wingo is feeling a little better about Sunday’s race where he expects cooler temperatures to take away some of the concern of engines overheating due to the restrictions placed on them in an attempt by NASCAR officials to limit the two-car tandems, which usually produce dramatically higher speeds.
“They’re forecasting a high of 66 for Sunday, so the drivers should be able to tandem up longer than the four or five laps they have in the past,” he said.
Wingo also said he’d like to see Bayne and the Warriors in Pink Ford Fusion running up front during the race instead of riding in the back and playing it safe.
“I’ve seen them get wrecked in the back too,” he said. “I think it’s probably safer to be up front.”
Qualifying for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 is set for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is set to get the green flag just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on ESPN.