Late Spin Ends Bayne’s Bid at Talladega

_TB50270aWith 10 of the scheduled 188 laps remaining to be run in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick crew had their No. 21 Ford Fusion in 2nd  place with plenty of fuel in the tank for the finish.

Although the remaining laps didn’t play out like Bayne and his Wood Brothers team planned, co-owners Len and Eddie Wood left the track pleased with their team’s performance.

“All you can ask for at Talladega is to get to 10 laps to go and have a shot at winning,” Eddie Wood said. “Whatever happens after that is just how the race unfolds.”

“It just didn’t work out for us this time.”

Bayne remained in contention through the first of two green-white-checkered-flag attempts to finish the race, but on the final restart, he was running in the third row headed into turn one when he was hit from behind and slid off the track. He regained control of his Ford Fusion, but the lead pack was long gone and he wound up 32nd in the finishing order.

Len Wood said that at the end of the day the positives for his team far outweighed the one negative at the end.

The bright spots included a pit stop at Lap 175, when the caution flag flew just as Bayne had pulled into the Motorcraft/Quick Lane pit stall for a final splash of gasoline. When the field lined up for the ensuing restart, Bayne was on the front row.

“At one point there it looked like we might have been hung out, but with the way the caution fell we wound up with good position on that restart,” Len Wood said. “It just didn’t work out for us.”

“But Trevor did a good job throughout the race and in saving the car on the last restart.”

Len Wood also offered his congratulations to Brad Keselowski, who came into Talladega needing to win the GEICO 500 to advance to the Eliminator Round of the Chase and did just that. Keselowski and his fellow Team Penske driver Joey Logano, who won at Kansas Speedway, both will advance to the next Chase round.

“Congratulations to Team Penske for winning two of the three races in the Contender Round,” Wood said.

Now Bayne, the Woods and the rest of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team turn their attention to the upcoming races at Texas Motor Speedway and at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the NASCAR season ends with the Ford Championship Weekend.

“We’re looking forward to running two of the next four races,” Wood said.


Bayne Earns 16th Starting Spot in Intense Qualifying Session at Talladega

_TB40256The new format for knock-out qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway made for some anxious moments, but in the end, Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick   Lane team wound up with a solid 16th-place starting spot for Sunday’s GEICO 500.

In the opening round of qualifying, Bayne was part of the second group of cars to run against the clock, and the group didn’t leave pit road until more than half of the five-minute session had elapsed.

That meant little time for error as Bayne, crew chief Donnie Wingo and spotter Chip Ross had to decide just when to go so Bayne could catch the draft just right and get a speed that would put them in the starting field.

For team co-owner Eddie Wood and the rest of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team on pit road, the anxiety level was about as high as it gets.

“It was one of the most tense moments I’ve had at a race track in a long, long time,” Wood said. “It’s like when your car is leading on the white flag lap and goes out of sight and you don’t know what’s happening until it comes back into view.”

“But Trevor and Donnie and Chip did a great job. They had to make decisions in split-seconds, and they got them right.”

As Wood pointed out, his Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, like all of its competitors in qualifying, had little control of their own destiny. Bayne’s speed in his session was dependent on the speed of the cars around him, and his overall speed also was determined by how fast his group went in comparison to the other half of the qualifiers, who ran a separate opening session.

“Everybody was at everybody’s mercy,” he said.

Bayne made it into the second round and eventually knocked out, but the primary mission was accomplished, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will race on Sunday.

“We made the race, and we’ll get after it tomorrow,” Wood said. “It’s a fast car.”

The GEICO 500 is set to get the green flag on Sunday just after 2 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on ESPN.

The Talladega Curse

This week when I was talking to Eddie and Len about old stories that happened at Talladega, the “Talladega Curse” was brought to my attention. I, being a youngster, had no idea about the curse so I decided to dig up some information.

Based on my research, the theory behind the curse has yet to be determined. Is it haunted because a Native American Chief was thrown off his horse and killed during a local horse race on the grounds or that the track was built on an Indian burial ground?

Whatever it is, many many strange things have happened at Talladega. Most of us know all too well of the unfortunate wrecks, deaths and injuries that have occurred at the Superspeedway, which are all believed to be part of the “Talladega Curse”, but I learned some other mysterious events that unfolded.

A fan actually stole the pace car and drove it around the race track before the start of a race!!?? What about the time in 1974 that someone broke into the garage and sabotaged several of the race cars the night before the race. The teams showed up to race and found their cars had been tampered with, including the Wood Brothers. The “sabotagers” had cut the teams’ oil pump and changed the toe-in on the front end. No one ever figured out the guilty party who committed this act but it didn’t stop the Wood Brothers and David Pearson from bringing home a 2nd place finish that day.

I thought this act of sabotage was pretty brilliant, probably not as fun that day but to me it was a classic story, so I asked Leonard if he remembered anything about what happened (see video below).

Let’s hope the curse leaves us alone this weekend!!



Lessons with Leonard Wood – Memories at Talladega

The Wood Brothers will be attempting to make their 400th Superspeedway start this weekend at Talladega and the team couldn’t be more excited to get back to the race track. This past break was the team’s longest stretch of the year without racing and it was painfully LONG. Trust me when I say, that we are working our bums off to find additional funding to break this type of gap up and hopefully add additional races. With that said, can you believe the Wood Brothers could be making their 400th Superspeedway start this weekend? That is an impressive number and a lot of their success came at Talladega, with 6 poles and 5 wins. Three of these wins came with David Pearson behind the wheel, the other 2 with Donnie Allison and Neil Bonnett. Check out the video below to see what Leonard Wood had to say about his memories from Talladega!

~ Jordan