Strong Duel Drive Earns Bayne, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team A Daytona 500 Starting Spot

_DYJ3444Five days filled with drama, worry and apprehension came to a happy conclusion for the Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane race team Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway. With the pressure squarely on his 23-year-old shoulders, Trevor Bayne drove one of his best races ever, avoided a last-lap collision in the second of two Budweiser Duels and earned the team a cherished starting spot in the 56th annual Daytona 500.

Team co-owner Len Wood said he couldn’t have been more proud of Bayne and the entire Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.

“I hugged him about five times after the race,” Wood said. “He did exactly what he had to do. We were in a tight spot, and the last thing I said to him before the race was: ‘It’s on you, bud.”

And it truly was.

In many a recent season, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team had the luxury of a fast qualifying time to fall back on in case there was an issue in the 150-lap qualifying Duel.  This year, the team had no such assurance as Bayne was just 26th fastest in last Sunday’s pole qualifying session. That meant a top-15 finish in the Duels was the key to putting the iconic No. 21 Ford Fusion in the starting field for the Great American Race.

Then the drama ratcheted up a notch on Wednesday when a crash in practice damaged the front end of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion.

Crew chief Donnie Wingo led the way in making the necessary repairs and put Bayne on the track for Thursday night’s Duel with a car that had the speed needed to jump from his 13th starting position to seventh in just four laps.

As the 60-lap race continued to unfold, Bayne dropped back a bit but kept his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion in a transfer spot most every lap. One of the key moments of the race came with 24 laps remaining when Bayne headed to pit road for his only stop of the race.

“We knew the critical part of the race was going to be the pit stop,” Wood said. “Trevor nailed it. He didn’t slide the tires, he didn’t speed, and he did a good job getting on and off pit road. And the crew did their part too. It was a great stop.”

_DYK2710As the laps wound down, Bayne began moving forward, and was inside the top 10 on the final lap when a multi-car crash erupted just behind him. With the race ending under the caution flag, Bayne was credited with sixth place and will start the 500 from the 14th position.

“It was more than nerve-wracking,” Bayne said. “I was waiting on what happened off of [Turn] Four to happen a lot earlier. Fortunately, we just happened to go to the bottom.”

“I can’t take credit for any of that. That’s just being at the right place at the right time, and I’m just so thankful for this team.”
Bayne said that like his car owners and the rest of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew he too has felt the pressure the past few days.

“I’m not going to lie,” he said. “I kind of take it for granted all the time when we qualify good and don’t have to worry about these Duels, but we did it when it mattered, and I’m really proud of these guys.”

“They’ve worked hard on this car and deserve to be in the 500.”
There will be one extra special person in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane pit area when the green flag drops on Sunday. As soon as Thursday’s Duels were over, team co-owner Eddie Wood took off for Stuart, Va., to pick up his father, the team’s founder and family patriarch Glen Wood. They will drive back to Daytona for Glen Wood’s 68th consecutive Speedweeks, a stretch that dates back to the era when races were held on the old beach-road course.

“He’s been coming here since 1947,” Len Wood said. “The first time he came to be with his hero Curtis Turner.”

Since then, Glen Wood has gone on to a NASCAR Hall of Fame career and has been associated with many racing heroes at Daytona. His cars have won the 500 five times, most recently with Bayne, the 2011 winner who will begin Sunday’s race from his highest Daytona 500 starting spot yet.

Donnie Wingo, the veteran crew chief, figures the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion is back to the superspeedway form that Glen Wood has come to expect over the years.

“It’s been nerve-wracking, but I think everything is good now,” Wingo said.

Sunday’s Daytona 500 is set to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on FOX.

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Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Remains Optimistic Despite Disappointing Daytona Qualifying Run

qualifyingThe search for speed continues for the Wood Brothers and the crew of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. Trevor Bayne’s qualifying lap for the 2014 Daytona 500 of 194.334 miles per hour was just 26th fastest.  As a result of their mid-pack qualifying effort, the team’s chances of making the starting field for the 56th running of The Great American Race likely hinge on a top-15 finish in the second of Thursday’s Budweiser Duel qualifying race.  The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team searched tirelessly all winter-long for speed at Daytona, and this effort will continue for at least another four days.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that while his team is taking a realistic approach to the situation, there are still reasons to be optimistic.

“Now’s not the time to be down about the position we’re in,” he said. “We’ve been in difficult situations before and managed to come through when it counted. We’re plenty capable of doing it again.”
Wood spelled out the reasoning behind his optimism.

The qualifying times posted by fellow Ford team members Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing prove the Fords are as competitive as ever. Biffle qualified third and Edwards fourth, and both are locked into a starting position based on their qualifying speed, as the Daytona 500 has a qualifying format that’s both unique and steeped in tradition, unlike any other race in motorsports.

“Fords are fast,” Wood said. “We just need to figure out just what’s off with our car and make the appropriate changes. There was a headwind down the backstretch when we qualified, but it could be more than that.” he said.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team and crew chief Donnie Wingo has proven in the last month that they’re willing to go above and beyond to make their Ford Fusion faster.

“We didn’t have the speed we wanted in the test in January, so that’s why we went to Talladega and tested and why we were in the wind tunnel three times since then, and why we spent some long hours in the shop and at the track,” Wood said. “We’re obviously puzzled at this point, but we’ll keep working all the way through Thursday night and go out there and try to race our way into the Daytona 500.”

The 150-mile Budweiser Duel qualifying races are scheduled to start just after 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.

Woods, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Prepared For Daytona Despite Winter Weather Woes

2014carThe Wood Brothers team will be ready for action in Daytona, despite numerous problems with the weather. Throughout the last few weeks, they have battled rain in Daytona during the test, a postponed Talladega test due to a snow covered track, and sleet on the roadways in the southeast this week. Despite all of this, nothing stopped Donnie Wingo and the Wood Brothers from arriving at Daytona International Speedway with a Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion ready to race.

Wingo and the Motorcraft Quick/Lane team kicked off the Woods’ 64th NASCAR season – and the team’s 14th with Motorcraft/Quick Lane colors on the sides of the iconic No. 21 – in January with a planned two-day test in advance of the 56th annual Daytona 500.

When rain washed out the first day, Wingo, Trevor Bayne, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team returned for the second day and literally ran from daylight to dark, turning 47 laps in a rain-delayed session before the track closed at 9 p.m.

Wingo felt there was more speed to be found, so he scheduled a test at Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway, only to have the first test snowed out. Even the second test, last week, was delayed by snow, but the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team got in a full two days of testing with the car that will be the back-up for the Daytona 500 entry that was run in the January test.

“The Daytona 500 is so important to our team that we felt we really needed to test more, and Talladega was our best option,” said team co-owner Eddie Wood, as the Woods’ work toward a sixth Daytona 500 triumph. “It had been a long time since anyone tested at Talladega, and it was like old-school testing. We were there by ourselves for the most part, and when you got ready to go out on the track, you didn’t have to wait on anybody, you just went.”

Back at home base in Charlotte, Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team continued to fine-tune the car, taking it to the wind tunnel three times, including one session at 6 a.m. Tuesday, just before the car was loaded for an early trip to Daytona to avoid being caught in the sleet and ice storm that wreaked havoc on the highways around the Carolinas and Georgia.

“There’s been a lot of work done on this car since the Daytona test. I’m sure if there was more time, Donnie and the crew would still be working on it. Teams never stop until its time to load.”

Wood also likes the tweaks that have been done to the paint scheme.

“It’s still Motorcraft red, white and gold, but the Motorcraft/Quick Lane logos are a little different. I think they look racier, and they’re easier to read on the track.”

Qualifying for the 56th annual Daytona 500 is set for Sunday, Feb. 16, at 1:05 p.m. Eastern Time. The 150-mile qualifying races are scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., and the Daytona 500 is set to get the green flag on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Crew At Its Best For Daytona Test

Daytona TestignWhen persistent rain shortened the two-day Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway to one eight-hour session on Friday, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team kicked into high gear and managed to complete its testing agenda.

Once the track was dried and cleared for testing, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew began making numerous changes to the No. 21 Ford Fusion before posting a best speed of 191.657 miles per hour. That speed came without the benefit of a drafting partner as the team and driver Trevor Bayne focused solely on single-car runs.

All told, the No. 21 Ford Fusion ran 117 miles in the session that ran until 9 p.m. Friday.

“It was like old-school testing,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “There was no time to look at the data. It was strictly by the stopwatch.”

Wood had high praise for crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew for their quick, efficient work. They were able to change the car and get back in line to go back on the track every 30 to 35 minutes.  “The crew did a great job, but there’s still work to be done,” he said. Because of the hurried session on Friday, there’s plenty of data to be analyzed once the team returns to its North Carolina shop.

“Once we get back home, all the Ford teams will get together and sort that all out.” Wood said.

Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will return to Daytona International Speedway next month for the Sprint Cup Series season opener on Feb. 23rd.