Bayne started 15th after the line-up was set based on practice speeds, and after just seven laps, Bayne had the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion running in the top 10. He was in sixth place a lap later, and after dropping deep in the pack moved back into the top five by Lap 13.
As he entered Turn One on Lap 22, smoke billowed from the rear of his car, and he coasted onto pit road the victim of a rare engine failure.
“There was no warning at all,” Bayne said. “I got to Turn One, and it let go.”
Despite the disappointment – and the 43rd-place finish – Bayne was able to find some positives in an otherwise down day.
“We were lucky to hold onto it and keep this car in one piece because it’s going to be fast at Daytona in July,” he said. “I hate this for our team…It’s OK though because we’ve got good race cars.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood, like his driver, tried to balance his disappointment over an early Talladega exit with the potential for a strong run at Daytona.
“We had a fast car, and we were doing the things we should have been doing early in the race,” Wood said. “We don’t know exactly what went wrong with the engine, but I do know it’s disappointing that we weren’t able to deliver a better result for Motorcraft and Quick Lane.”
He said he too is looking forward to getting the team’s best superspeedway car back on track at Daytona International Speedway in July.
“We thought we had a shot at the pole at Talladega and didn’t get to go for it because of rain,” he said. “So we’ll just take this car to Daytona and try to sit on the pole and win the race.”
But before they return to restrictor-plate racing, Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew will make their next Sprint Cup Series appearance on May 23-26 for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.