Bayne had to start 26th after qualifying was rained out, but once the green flag dropped on Sunday, he and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion were on the march toward the front.
After less than 30 laps, Bayne was knocking on the door of the top 10 and for most of the remainder of the race he kept his Ford Fusion inside the top 10 and was as high as fourth at Lap 96 and posted one of the fastest laps of the day at 201.5 mph.
He dodged disaster on Lap 80 when Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya wrecked just in front of him, and the Motorcradt/Quick Lane team had a good day on pit road.
The only hiccup came on the final trip down pit road, a green-flag stop with 25 laps remaining. Trying to get on and off pit road as quickly as possible, Bayne inadvertently locked his brakes, sliding his front tires as he pulled into his pit stall.
Crew chief Donnie Wingo, knowing that the front tires likely had been flat-spotted during the slide, made a quick call to change four tires instead of two.
The extra time in the pit area caused Bayne to lose the lead draft. With no more caution flags in the race, he was relegated to a 23rd-place finish.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that from a performance standpoint he and his team are proud of their efforts.
“We had a fast car all day,” Wood said. “Even on the last stop, Trevor was just trying to get all he could on pit road.
“A lot of drivers had trouble getting into their pit stall, and there were a lot of penalties on pit road today due to speeding.”
“And we didn’t have a choice on changing four tires.” “When you’re running 200 miles per hour and have reason to believe you may have a tire issue, you can’t take a chance on changing just the right-side tires.”
“Things just happen, especially when you’re being as aggressive as you can be.”
Wood said that in the big picture, the team’s speed at Talladega is a first step toward a strong run in next year’s Daytona 500.
“We’ll use this car as a baseline, to build a car for the 500 that’s hopefully even better than this one,” he said.
First however, for Bayne and the Wood Brothers Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, are two more races in 2013, at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 3 and in the Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov.17.