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.

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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.

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.

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.