Wreck Ruins Strong Talladega Run for Bayne, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team

_TD54810 Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have become known for their speed in restrictor-plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, and Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega was no exception.

Bayne backed up his chart-topping performance in the final Happy Hour practice by taking the No. 21 Ford Fusion to the front of the pack and running there for most of Sunday’s race.

He could move through the field with apparent ease, coming from the back of the pack to the lead group in just a few laps on several occasions. He ran in the top 10 for much of the mid-portion of the race and led six laps, from Lap 113-118.

As the laps began to wind down, he was poised to contend for the win before being collected in a multi-car crash off turn four on Lap 137 of 188. His Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion was too damaged to continue, and Bayne was credited with a 41st-place finish.

For team co-owner Len Wood, the positives of the day helped soothe the disappointment of a wrecked race car and a lost chance to race for a victory.

“We had a fast car and led some laps,” Wood said. “We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Brad Keselowski got loose, Trevor was right behind him and had no place to go.”
Wood said that given a choice he’d rather see his driver wreck while running in the lead group than be swept up in a crash while riding at the back waiting to make a move at the end of the race.

“At least this way, you know what you had,” he said.

_TD61252Wood also was encouraged by the performance of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew, which put on a solid performance, from strategy calls by crew chief Donnie Wingo to the pit stops by the over-the-wall team members.

“It was the best day they’ve had all year,” he said, adding that a strong day at Talladega gives them momentum heading into the team’s next race, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team won’t be running on All-Star weekend, but with the cooperative effort among the Ford race teams, Wood expects his team to have all the data needed to tune the No. 21 Ford Fusion for the 600.

“We’ll consult with our engineering teammates after the All-Star race, and that will help us decide where to start for the 600,” he said.

Then there’s the matter of building another fast superspeedway Ford Fusion before the next restrictor-plate race at Daytona International Speedway on July 5.

“We’ve had two wiped out this year,” Wood said, referring to an earlier crash in the Daytona 500. “We’ll just build another one.”

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Bayne to start 23rd in Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

For Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, the most important goal in NASCAR’s new “knockout” qualifying system is to not get knocked out of the starting field.

Bayne and his No. 21 Ford Fusion accomplished that Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway by posting the 12th fastest time with a speed of 198.318 miles per hour in the opening round of knockout qualifying. No matter what happened after that, he and the Motorcraft/Quick   Lane team were assured of racing in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499.

The second of three rounds didn’t go as well. Bayne, trying to catch just the right draft to boost his lap time, wound up dancing with an uncooperative partner and did not advance to the final round. After topping the speed chart in Friday’s final practice session with a lap at 199.015 mph, he had to settle for a 23rd-place starting spot with an official qualifying lap at 190.575 mph.

“We made it to the race and that’s what our goal was, so we’ll see what happens,” Bayne said. “Things didn’t go as well in the second session. We were on a really good lap with the Gibbs car there, and then they shut it down.”

“I thought that was going to be a good lap for us, but it’s just qualifying.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood pointed out that in the knockout qualifying system, a team that is not assured of a starting spot has lots to lose in the relatively quick, but dramatic qualifying sessions.

“As crazy and wild and unpredictable as qualifying can be, we feel fortunate to be in the race,” he said.  “We had to make it on our lap speed. We were in a good position in the first session, but we didn’t get as good a position in the second.”

“But the important thing is we’ll race on Sunday.”

The Aaron’s 499 is set to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on FOX.

Bayne Set To Make 50th Career Sprint Cup Start

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona International Speedway Daytona 500When Trevor Bayne takes the green flag on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, it will mark his 50t career Sprint Cup race, and all of them have come in the No. 21 Ford Fusion fielded by the famed Wood Brothers race team.

“It seems like it’s gone by really fast, but it’s taken us five years to do it,” Bayne said.

The highlight of those 50 for Bayne and the entire Motorcraft/Quick Lane team would undoubtedly be start No. 2, when he scored the team’s fifth Daytona 500 victory.

“That’s definitely the best of them,” Bayne said. “And if I get to 400 starts, that will still be the best.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said Bayne, now 23, has been a good fit for his family-owned team since making his Cup debut and his first run in the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion in the fall of 2010 at Texas Motor Speedway, where he finished a strong 17th.

“We’ve had a lot of good runs with Trevor,” Wood said. “It’s worked out well for both of us, especially with us running a part-time schedule and him having a full-time Nationwide Series ride with Roush Fenway Racing.”

Making the milestone start at Talladega suits Bayne just fine, even though he hasn’t had the success there that he’s had at other tracks. His best run there came in the spring of 2012, when he posted his 2nd top ten finish in just four races for that season, with an 8th place finish.

_DYJ4640“Talladega hasn’t always been the best for me,” Bayne said. “I’m looking to redeem myself this weekend.”

It helps that the Ford Fusion he’ll run was tested at Talladega in January and showed good speed.

One of the biggest challenges this weekend is the new “knockout” style qualifying that will be used at a restrictor-plate track for the first time in the Sprint Cup Series.

“That will be a little nerve-wracking,” Bayne said, adding that, unlike the race, the most important thing is to be in a fast group but not necessarily at the front of the field, where he hopes to be when the checkered flag falls on Sunday afternoon.

Qualifying for the Aaron’s 499 is set for Saturday at 1:10 p.m. eastern, and the race should get the green flag just after 1:00 p.m eastern.

The qualifying session and the race will be broadcast live on FOX.

Bayne Finishes 19th in Rain-Delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas

_TXI7300Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team fought hard in a rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

When the green flag dropped on Monday, Bayne started seventh after a strong qualifying effort as his Donnie Wingo-led team brought out a brand-new Ford Fusion. Bayne raced around the top 15 for much of the race, and even when his No. 21 Ford Fusion began to develop a tight-handling condition, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew was able to make adjustments, and he was able to maintain his position.

Two-thirds of the way through the race, Bayne fell a lap behind the leaders but was able to rejoin the lead lap with an impressive performance as he held the “free pass” or “lucky dog” position despite stiff challenges until Kurt Busch brought out the caution flag on Lap 220, allowing Bayne to resume his spot on the lead lap.

“We were racing Marcos Ambrose and Carl Edwards for the lucky dog spot, and then Brad Keselowski stopped and got tires and took a couple of dives at us,” Len Wood said. “Trevor was able to hold him off even with Brad on fresher tires. He earned that one.
_TXJ3919As the laps wound down, Bayne was poised for a top 15 finish when his right-rear tire began going flat. A late-race caution, again for Kurt Busch with tire issues, allowed the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team to put fresh tires on the No. 21 Ford Fusion. Bayne then drove it home in 19th place.

Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew plan to be back on the track Tuesday and Wednesday, testing at Michigan International Speedway in advance of the Quicken Loans 400 on June 13-15.

The next race for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team is at Talladega Superspeedway in the Aaron’s 499 on May 2-4.