Bayne, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Among The Best In Texas Qualifying

Small_TXJ2820The Motorcraft/Quick Lane race team took a step back in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway – back toward the day when the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Fords were almost always among the fastest Sprint Cup cars on qualifying day.

After posting the eighth-quickest speeds in the two practice sessions for Sunday’s Duck Commander 500, Trevor Bayne went out and posted the second-fastest time in the opening round of knockout qualifying. He was sixth in the second round and seventh in Round 3, with a lap at 194.503 miles per hour. His speed of 197.477 mph in the first round was the second-best overall on a day that saw the Blue Oval contingent take six of the top 10 starting spots.

Crew chief Donnie Wingo said the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, using simulations and the knowledge gained from a less-than-spectacular qualifying effort at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, built a brand new Ford Fusion that rolled off the truck at Texas ready to go.

“The car’s been good since we unloaded it,” Wingo said after qualifying. “Everything’s gone pretty smooth so far. All the guys have done a great job all weekend.”

Bayne said his Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew deserves a lot of credit for bouncing back after a struggle at Las Vegas.

“It’s great that the Wood Brothers can bring cars like this when we don’t run full-time and be able to come out here and contend with these guys,” he said. “I felt I had a car capable of the pole if everything went perfect… At Vegas I think we were nervous about making the race at the end, so that’s a big turnaround for us coming to a mile-and-a-half [track] and having this much speed.

“I’m pretty excited to get going tomorrow.”

The Duck Commander 500 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on FOX.

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Bayne, Wood Brothers Roll Out Another New Ford Fusion At Texas

Small_LVJ4191Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are heading to Texas Motor Speedway with the best of both worlds when it comes to race cars.

They’re taking a brand-new Ford Fusion to the Duck Commander 500, but it won’t exactly be an unknown because they have a list of set-up notes from their most recent race on a similar track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Texas Motor Speedway is one of the places Bayne knows best. It was at Texas in November, 2010, that Bayne made his Sprint Cup debut in the No. 21 Ford Fusion, driving it to an impressive 17-place finish in the AAA Texas 500. This weekend marks his eighth appearance at Texas in a Cup car, more than any other track in his relatively brief, 48-race career.

The No. 21 Ford Fusion that Bayne will drive this weekend is all new, just like the car he raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9, but crew chief Donnie Wingo said this time is different because of their experience at Vegas.

“We’ll be able to build on what we learned at Vegas,” he said, adding that among the things the Motorcraft team will work on in practice is determining what the optimum ride height will be now that NASCAR has relaxed some of its rules on measuring heights at the track.

Wingo also will be participating in his first qualifying session since cool-down units were allowed on pit road.

“The biggest difference is that we won’t have to ride around the track to cool down the engine,” he said.

Since the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team runs a limited schedule and therefore is not eligible for a guaranteed starting position, the knockout qualifying sessions carry the very real possibility of being knocked out of the starting line-up in the first qualifying session.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that for his team, the pressure is on once the opening session begins.

“We just need to get locked in the race,” he said. “Then once we’re assured of racing on Sunday, we can get on with the following two qualifying sessions.”

When it comes to Sunday’s Duck Commander 500, Wingo said one of the keys for crew chiefs and drivers will be tire management, especially with the increasingly worn asphalt at Texas.

“Most of the time, you will take four tires on a pit stop,” he said. “But if the circumstances are right and you don’t have too many laps on your tires, you can do just two.”
Wingo also said he doesn’t anticipate another round of tire issues like the ones at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., two weeks ago.

“I think that’s more related to flatter tracks like Fontana, Pocono and Indianapolis, and to the roughness of the track at Fontana,” he said.

Qualifying for the Duck Commander 500 is set for Saturday at 3:10 p.m. Eastern Time and the race is schedule for just after 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Finishes 20th In Kobalt Tools 400

Small_LVJ4191 Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team bounced back from a disappointing start to the Kobalt Tools 400 weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and came away with a top-20 finish.

The team brought a brand-new 2014 Ford Fusion to Las Vegas, but during a practice session on Thursday the car was damaged in a pit-road incident. Then during qualifying on Friday, the No. 21 Fusion was just 34th fastest.

Sunday, however, the story was much different. By Lap 25 of 267 Bayne had driven up to 23rd position and remained in or around the top half of the field for the remainder of the race.

With the 400-mile race featuring long stretches of green-flag racing and just four brief caution periods, Bayne fell a lap down. Each time the team was in position to rejoin the lead lap either through a wave-around or “lucky dog” free pass, the caution flags didn’t fly their way and Bayne wound up 20th.

Still, team co-owner Len Wood was pleased with the performance of Bayne, crew chief Donnie Wingo and the rest of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.

Small_LVJ4353a“The car remained consistent all day, and we were able to stay ahead on our adjustments,” Wood said. “If the cautions had fallen our way and we’d been able to get back on the lead lap, I believe we would have had a top-15 finish because we had been outrunning a lot of those cars all day.”

“All in all, we were pleased with the car, especially for the first time out with a new chassis style and the first time with the new rules package.”

Bayne said he was close to regaining the lead lap late in the race but didn’t pass the No. 47 of A.J. Allmendinger quick enough, as the caution flag was displayed before he crossed the next scoring loop after the pass, thereby making the pass unofficial.

“I was really frustrated that I didn’t try to roll the top a lap sooner to try and get by him,” Bayne said. “I was working on him, but I should have maybe gone to the top sooner.”

“That’s not a bad run for us. ….I felt like we had a 15th-place car at times and passed quite a few cars today, so I’m happy with how the car ran.”

As it was, Bayne was the fourth-best Ford, with one of his Blue Oval teammates, Brad Keselowski taking the victory and completing a weekend sweep for Keselowski and Ford.

Len Wood said it was fitting that Fords ruled the day in NASCAR, given the passing earlier on Sunday of William Clay Ford, Sr., the last grandchild of company founder Henry Ford.

“All of us with the Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team send our sincere condolences to the Ford family,” Wood said.

Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team return to the Sprint Cup circuit on April 4-6 for the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team In Kobalt 400 Field After Intense Knockout Qualifying Session

_LVI4045The Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew got their first taste of NASCAR’s new “knockout” qualifying procedure on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and it was quite an eye-opener.

“It’s very intense,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “You can just sense the pressure in the garage. I’ve got a lot of respect for this procedure and the people who have to do it.”

His own Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew had to put forth a gallant effort to make the starting field for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400. After struggling to find speed in practice, the team managed to get Trevor Bayne on the track for three qualifying runs in the opening 25-minute session of knockout qualifying. That meant the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew had to get the engine of the No. 21 Ford Fusion cooled down two different times, and in a hurry. Teams tape off the radiator for qualifying to improve the car’s aerodynamics, but the lack of air to the radiator quickly overheats the engine.

“That’ all you can ask for,” Wood said of the performance by crew chief Donnie Wingo and his crew.

As it was, Bayne’s second attempt was his quickest lap. His speed of 188.429 was just 34th fastest, but it got him inside the top 36 and thereby in the starting field for Sunday’s 400-miler.

“It wasn’t very pretty, but it got us in the show,” Wood said. “It’s a relief. The field is really close.”

With one major hurdle behind them, Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick   Lane crew now turn their attention to tuning their No. 21 Ford Fusion for Sunday’s race on a fast, bumpy Vegas track.

Two practice sessions are scheduled for Saturday. The Kobalt Tools 400 is set to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.