Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that the key to a fast lap in knock-out qualifying on a restrictor-plate track like Daytona is to catch a pack of cars just ahead of you. But that perfect timing is very difficult to achieve.
“Everybody has a plan, and everybody’s trying to outguess each other,” he said. “You need to catch a group of cars with a couple of them two wide, but as time was running out in the first session people had to go and the speeds weren’t what everyone expected.”
Indeed, the pole speed turned by the No. 38 Ford Fusion of David Gilliland, 199.322 mph, was more than a mile per hour slower than Bayne’s best lap in Friday’s practice session. He posted the 13th fastest lap on Friday with a speed of 200.553 mph.
Rain has been one of the bigger stories at Daytona this week as both Sprint Cup qualifying and one practice session were impacted by the showers that tend to pop up often at the track just off the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.
Wood said he’s not too concerned as the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion has shown plenty of speed when it was on the track in race trim.
“We feel really good about the race,” he said.
The Coke Zero 400 is set to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on TNT.