Bayne optimistic despite Duel setback

Shock 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne is pleased with the speed from his Ford Fusion, and vows to remain patient starting from the back of his CanAm Duel.

Bayne, who scored a famous and emotional victory at Daytona for the Wood Brothers five years ago, said he was happy to play the patience card in today’s CanAm Duel that will help decide the grid for Sunday’s 500.

He and Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished third practice second, third and fourth fastest. However, Bayne and Biffle will be forced to start their Duel from the back of the pack after having their rear gears changed.

The 24-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., said: “It is nice to have track position if you are in the top three or four, but anywhere beyond the top three it doesn’t really matter. It gives you a little freedom to be able to chill out when everyone is acting crazy at the beginning and take care of your equipment.

“I like being at the front. It is the safest place and you have the best shot of winning from the front. [But] We will work our way there, patiently though, and if I see it getting crazy I can back out and wait for a while. I have my teammates in the Duel with me and hopefully we can work together and see what we can do.”

In fourth practice, Bayne was only 19th fastest but saw another Ford, that of Brian Scott, take P1.

“We got it fixed and now the car is running really good,” said Bayne. “It has a lot of speed and drives really good. Hopefully on old tires it will keep that handling because right now it drives great. It is superspeedway stuff so anybody can lay down a lap but I really like the drivability in the car, more so than the speed on the chart.

“The ability to go from the back of that drafting pack and work our way up to second behind Biffle and see what the Fords had was really good. We will continue to learn and see what it does in the race tomorrow night.” 

Cautious hopes for 2016 season

Commenting on the increased speed of the Roush cars since 2015, Bayne commented: “I think Ford has made a lot of improvements in the off-season. Everyone makes improvements and you don’t know where you stack up until you get here but right now it looks really good.

“This is a nice change. Hopefully we can keep it going at the 1.5-mile tracks in a couple weeks.”

Senior teammate Biffle echoed Bayne’s sentiments regarding the RFR cars’ speed at Daytona and also his hopes for the season.

“This is good, it is good for Ford, and it looks like the Penske guys are fast as well,” said Biffle, whose best results in the Daytona 500 have been a pair of third places.

“We are happy with the speed of the car. It feels good. It has been eight years since I had a fast car down here. I don’t know if it is fast enough to win yet but it is definitely fast enough to run up front, and that is what counts.” 

Biffle, who hasn’t won a Sprint Cup race since June 2013, then added: “The real test will be the next three races and how we stack up there. How are our cars? How are we turning? How are we keeping up on a long run?

“I am not worried about right now. I was worried about it before I got here but now I am not worried about it because we have good speed. Now my focus stays on this… but you start thinking a little about Atlanta and Vegas.”

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Event Daytona 500
Track Daytona International Speedway
Drivers Greg Biffle , Trevor Bayne
Teams Roush Fenway Racing
Article type Breaking news