Missing Spring Rubber Leads to a Tough Day in Texas For Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team

_TXE5704Trevor Bayne and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion struggled with an ill-handling car through the early portions of Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Long green-flag runs hampered the crew in its attempts to diagnose the problem, which also caused tire issues that forced unscheduled pit stops that led to lost laps.

Finally, a late caution period allowed the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew time to carefully inspect the car, and the problem was located.

“A spring rubber had fallen out of the right-rear spring,” team co-owner Len Wood. “They replaced it, and it made a different car out of it.”

Spring rubbers are pieces of rubber inserted into the coils of a spring to change its affect on the car’s handling. They’re also useful during races because they can be quickly inserted or removed, thus providing a significant chassis adjustment.

With the spring rubber back in place, Bayne was able to run competitive laps and race with those around him, but by that time he had lost four laps to the leaders and wound up finishing 29th.

_TBF0365Wood said the chassis adjustments the crew made during the race didn’t produce the expected results because the missing spring rubber so adversely affected the chassis set-up of the No. 21 Ford Fusion. “It would take three times the usual adjustment,” he said.

Wood and the rest of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team had praise for Bayne and his handling of the challenges of the afternoon, especially the issues with the tires, which wore excessively due to the missing spring rubber.

“He caught it each time and did a nice job of getting the car to pit road,” Wood said, explaining that a blown tire likely would have meant a wrecked car especially at a high-speed track like Texas Motor Speedway.

Now Wood and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team turn their attention to the season-ending Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks.

“We tested there last week, and we’ve got a good plan and a different car for the Ford 400,” Wood said. “We’ll see what happens.”

 

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Bobble in Turn Four Drops Bayne to 32nd in Texas Qualifying

Trevor Bayne and his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion got off to a good start in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday afternoon. When it was time to qualify; however, he was unable to maintain that pace for his entire lap and therefore will have to start 32nd on Sunday.

“It was a great lap until we got to turn four and about plowed the wall,” Bayne said of his run against the clock which nonetheless ended with a speed of 191.347 miles per hour. “We were probably a top-15 run until that point.”

As soon as Bayne returned to the garage area, he and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew began putting the disappointment behind them and focusing on Sunday’s race, the final 500-miler of the 2013 Sprint Cup season.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he’s confident that Bayne and crew chief Donnie Wingo can work together on a set-up and strategy that will help them overcome a poor starting position.

“We haven’t made any race runs yet,” Wood said after qualifying. “We spent the week testing at Homestead, which is a somewhat similar race track, so I’m not too worried at this point.”

Wood said that it’s never a bad day at the track when the front-row starters both are driving Ford Fusions.

“Congratulations to Carl Edwards for the pole and to Brad Keselowski for the outside pole,” Wood said. “I feel good about Sunday, for their teams and for ours.”

The AAA Texas 500 is set to start just after 3 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on ESPN.

AAA Texas 500 Up Next For Busy Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team

_TXC6634With the 2013 Sprint Cup season hitting the homestretch, and just three weeks remaining before the season-ending Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, race teams in every major NASCAR series are picking up the work pace in hopes of going into the off-season with the momentum that comes from a great finish.

Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, despite running a limited schedule, have been in high gear for the past several weeks. They participated in a NASCAR test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, raced at Talladega Superspeedway, tested two days this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway and are set to run two of the Sprint Cup circuit’s final three races – at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend and the Ford 400 at Homestead in two weeks.

“We’ve been really, really busy,” said team co-owner Eddie Wood. “It’s good to be back at the track on a regular basis.”

Wood said that while his family’s team strives to run well every time out, a strong performance in the Ford 400 at Homestead is especially important for him and his team.

“All our friends from Ford Motor Company will be there,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest events of the year.”

First, there’s this weekend’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Wood said he’s more than ready to race again at Texas, where Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion have shown great potential in recent races, even if the final results haven’t reflected it.

“We’ve always run well there,” he said. “Something always seems to happen that keeps us from being able to finish off a race.”

From an experience standpoint, Texas is one of the few places on the Sprint Cup schedule where the 22-year-old Bayne isn’t hampered by a lack of track time. Although he has just 44 career Cup starts, he has six at Texas, more than any other 1.5-mile track he’s raced on.  In addition to his Cup starts,  he has a Nationwide Series victory there in the fall of 2011.

To help Bayne capitalize on that experience, crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have prepared chassis No. 745, which made its competitive debut earlier this year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where it carried a special paint scheme to honor Henry Ford’s 150th birthday.

“It’s our best downforce car,” Wood said.

Qualifying for the AAA Texas 500 is set for 3:40 p.m. (4:40 Eastern Time) on Friday, with the green flag set to fly on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (3:30 Eastern).

Bad Break on Final Pit Stop Drops Bayne to 23rd at Talladega

Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew showed in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway that when it comes to restrictor-plate racing they’re among the best in the Sprint Cup Series.

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.