Bayne & the Wood Brothers - Ford interview

Bayne & the Wood Brothers - Ford interview

This Week in Ford Racing - Bayne & the Wood Brothers

This Week in Ford Racing - Trevor Bayne, Eddie and Len Wood

Wood Brothers Racing formally announced a two-race sponsorship deal with Camping World and Good Sam for this weekend’s race at Talladega and the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway next month. Driver Trevor Bayne and co-owner Eddie Wood spoke about the deal and other issues after the car unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte.

That’s kind of our mindset and I think we can turn this thing around.

Trevor Bayne

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Camping World/Good Sam Ford Fusion –

CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH YOUR INSECT BITE SITUATION? “I didn’t get it camping, so that’s good. I was in Martinsville and on the way back Sunday I noticed something on my arm. It just looked like a little mosquito bite or something and I went home and, being a stubborn 20-year-old, it swells up Monday and I’m like, ‘It’s all right.’ Tuesday it’s even bigger and I have like two elbows, and I’m still like, ‘OK. It’s all right. It’ll go away.’ Wednesday it started going away a little bit, so I’m like, ‘All right, I’m good now. My body is kind of taking care of it.’ I get to the track on Thursday and it starts getting a rash. There’s a little blue mark here still where you can see where the rash went, but that’s where they marked it with a Sharpie. I’m not turning blue or turning into Spiderman. It was just kind of getting worse and my arm went kind of numb in the race car, so when we landed I just went to the hospital to get it checked out and they gave me antibiotics and fluids and it all went away, so it looks like I’m not gonna turn into Spiderman, unfortunately.”

AFTER EVERYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED AFTER DAYTONA IS IT KIND OF LIKE, WHAT ELSE CAN GO WRONG? “A little bit. Somebody asked me a little earlier how the rollercoaster ride was and I said, ‘Well, we never bought a ticket for it because this is kind of what we expected.’ Maybe not all the bad finishes, but we expected to struggle just a little bit because it’s our first year working together. We never expected to win the Daytona 500 and that was just unbelievable, and I think we could have some more of that this year. We finished 17th at Texas, which is a strong finish. I remember less than six months ago when we finished 17th at Texas in our first race how ecstatic everybody was, and then we go back this time and finish17th and we’re like, ‘Man, we can get more.’ So there’s a lot of drive in this team to do better every weekend, and I think we’re gonna do that. Coming up to Talladega, I’m pumped about that race. I think we need to go into it with the same mindset we did at Daytona – not going into it thinking we’re gonna win it just like Daytona, but going into it with the same survival mode – being the pusher, just taking it easy kind of and being around until the end because that’s exactly what we did at Daytona and it paid off. That’s kind of our mindset and I think we can turn this thing around – not even turn it around because this is kind of what happens in a rookie year. You look at everybody and they have their little slump and then they come back up, and I think, hopefully, we’ll start that up trend and that will be good for us.”

HOW MUCH OF A LEARNING CURVE HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU GOING TO THESE TRACKS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A CUP CAR? “Big-time. You look at places like Martinsville and that’s something you don’t pick up in your first try. Most of the drivers, like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin – the guys that are really good there – they had testing when they first started running that track and a lot of these other tracks, and that’s something we don’t get. So when I get to Martinsville or Vegas or California in a Cup car, that’s the first time I’ve seen it and that makes it really tough, but I think we’re already showing speed, we’re already showing we can be competitive, and I think if you give us a couple more races at each of these tracks and we can be really competitive. You look at Texas, where we had been before, of course both races we ran decent and had top-20s, and a lot of that, I think, is due to our mile-and-a-half program being so strong right now. So that learning curve at the mile-and-a-halfs is a little bit easier for me because the cars are so good, but the short track stuff has been a little tougher. That’s kind of what I grew up on, so I’m hoping those instincts will kick in a little bit here soon and we’ll be able to learn all of these places.”

Champion's breakfast: 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Champion's breakfast: 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

THERE WAS SPECULATION AFTER THE DAYTONA 500 THAT THE FIELD WAS LEVELED DUE TO THE TWO-CAR DRAFT. DO YOU EXPECT THAT TO BE THE CASE AT TALLADEGA? “I would agree with that, saying some of these guys don’t have more experience. At first, when I saw the two-car draft happening I was worried about it because I’m a rookie there, I’ve got a yellow stripe and we saw the effects of that for the first hour of practice when nobody would draft with us. At least when it’s a big pack, you can kind of tag along and then just be along for the ride, but then once you get confidence from other people in you, then it’s actually better because you have that partner that is gonna stick with you and you’re not gonna be in the big pack and get shuffled out as a rookie. So I think the two-car draft is a great thing for us because we do know how to do it now, there is confidence in us and it is more level because there isn’t a lot of experience. Donnie Allison got mad at me when I said that, though. I’m like, ‘Man, this is the first time this has happened.’ And he’s like, ‘Are you crazy? Look at 20 years ago when we were doing the same thing.’ So he wanted some credit for that and I’m gonna give it to him here.”

EDDIE WOOD, Co-Owner –No. 21 Camping World/Good Sam Ford Fusion –

HAD YOU RESIGNED YOURSELF TO NOT BEING IN THE ALL-STAR RACE OR DID YOU STILL HAVE HOPE? “You never give up in this business until it’s time to load the car and you can’t go, but we never really gave up. Fortunately, Marcus came on board with Good Sam and it just worked out. This whole experience with Trevor, from the day it started, when we fitted his seat over in our shop to go to Texas for the first race, it’s almost like it’s meant to be. We never had a black or white decision, where we had to pick this or that, things just happened little bitty steps the whole way. In my heart, I thought that something would come up for the All-Star because it just seemed like too many people wanted it to happen, we wanted it to happen, Trevor did, everybody did, so, thankfully enough, Marcus Lemonis came along and he was the lifeline to it. That’s kind of the way it is.”

IT FELT LIKE YOUR WIN IN THE DAYTONA 500 WAS SOMETHING EVERYBODY WAS HAPPY WITH FOR YOU GUYS – THE WOOD BROTHERS. DID YOU SENSE THAT? “Yes, and more so after the race. After it was all over and you kind of had time to soak it all in, it just seemed like everybody was happy about it. I know we were, but it just seemed like people that had been following us for the last 50 years, it seemed like it brought them back to life – that they had something to pull for – and then Trevor being 20, he brought a whole new group of young kids in and it just seemed like a really good situation for everybody>

TREVOR BAYNE -

DID YOU SENSE HOW BIG OF A DEAL THE WOOD BROTHERS WERE WHEN YOU JOINED THEM? “The whole organization is the best one I could ever ask to drive for. Every person that you talk to in the garage, nobody is gonna have a bad thing to say about them. Everybody has something awesome to say about them and that’s what you want when you align yourself with somebody. Every interview I did before the race they wanted to talk about the history of the Wood Brothers, so I learned a lot leading up to the 500. I learned so many stats within a week just doing interviews. They’d be like, ‘So what do you think about this race when this and this happened?’ I’m like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that happened, but that’s cool.’ They’d always ask about the history and I think in one interview I said, ‘Well, hopefully, we still have some history to write.’ So I thought it was cool that we’re still adding on to that. The Wood Brothers are the oldest team in NASCAR and they have a ton of history, but I think we’re still making more together. We’ve shown that at the 500 and I’m still looking forward to however many years we’re together down the road working together. They’re just an incredible organization and seeing how they’ve kept it in the family with everybody. They’ve persevered through it all and even though we’re running a limited schedule this year, we’d love to be back. I think I speak for them that we’d love to be running together next year full-time if something came about, but it’s guys like Marcus and companies like Good Sam that make it possible. Everything about it has fit together so well and it’s just kind of jelled and happened. It’s not been like, ‘OK, what are we gonna decide on this?’ It’s just kind of fallen into place, so that makes life a little bit easier when things happen that way.”

Talladega will make eight in a row for us, but we’ll be taking a little break.

Len Wood

LEN WOOD, Co-Owner – No. 21 Camping World/Good Sam Ford Fusion –

WHY NOT GO TO THE RACES RIGHT AROUND HERE THAT ARE CLOSE – LIKE DARLINGTON? WHAT COSTS ARE INVOLVED WITH GOING TO A PLACE LIKE THAT? “We looked at our schedule with Motorcraft and Quick Lane over the winter and they talked about some of the better tracks we’ve performed at like Texas, Charlotte, Michigan – places like that – and we set a schedule of 17 races. We won Daytona, so we added Martinsville to kind of bridge a gap to get to Texas. Talladega will make eight in a row for us, but we’ll be taking a little break. Our schedule is changing. I think we’ll add Daytona because originally Darlington was on it, but we evaluated that and felt maybe we have a better shot at Daytona, so it’s changing and it will still change, but it won’t be less than the 18 we’ve talked about and the All-Star.”

TREVOR BAYNE –

HOW ARE YOU FEELING? “I’m feeling better than I have the last few weeks. I don’t exactly know when that happened. It could have been Sunday when I noticed it, or it could have been before that, but I was really tired for the last week-and-a-half, so I actually feel better now than I did to begin with, so I finally got some fluids in me and got some rest and got some antibiotics for my elbow and I’m ready to go.”

DID THEY FIGURE OUT WHAT BIT YOU? “We’ll know probably by next week because they’re doing the cultures to figure out what it is, but they don’t know yet. They said it’s fine from the way it responds to antibiotics and it’s gone down, so it’s all good.”

WAS IT PAINFUL? “My arm fell asleep and it kind of throbbed a little bit, just because it was inflamed from infection and stuff. Obviously, when you’ve got inflammation and it’s hot, it’ll numb out a little bit and the antibiotics with the dehydration – it was so hot at Texas that it didn’t help anything at all, but it’s nothing to worry about so we’re good.”

WAS IT NICE TO RACE AT TEXAS, A PLACE YOU’D RUN A CUP CAR BEFORE? “Yeah, for sure. Anytime you can go somewhere and be familiar with it is great. That’s why I’m so excited about the All-Star Race at Charlotte. I’ve not run there yet in a Cup car, but it’s a mile-and-a-half, which the Roush Fenway chassis and Roush Yates Engines are really fast at right now, which is what we run at the Wood Brothers. So I’m looking forward to going there for the All-Star Race to get that experience for the Charlotte race later on. I think any kind of seat time and going back twice is really good, so at a place like Texas that really pays off.”

HOW MUCH OF A DISAPPOINTMENT WOULD IT HAVE BEEN IF YOU HADN’T RUN THE ALL-STAR RACE? “At first when I found out I was invited it hadn’t even crossed my mind that we didn’t have sponsorship for that. I was kind of like, ‘Man, I’m pumped about the All-Star Race, and then we started talking about it and it’s like, ‘We think we might run the All-Star Race. We’re invited, but that doesn’t mean we can go.’ I don’t let things like that get to me. I try not to, and I know these guys are working at it and they want to run the All-Star Race really bad. Fortunately, Good Sam Club and Camping World came along to help us at the last minute, but it’s good to have support like that. I kind of expected to run it the whole time, I just didn’t know how or if it was actually gonna happen.”

HAS IT BEEN FRUSTRATING ON THE TRACK SINCE THE 500? “The bright side is it’s not even my rookie season yet, so I’ll get a whole 19 races this year to learn for my rookie season. However that works out, I don’t know. It definitely changed the standard at Daytona. I was going into the year like with a top-20, top-15 mindset, and we go out and win the race and that puts a little bit of pressure on us as a team wanting to run better. I might have put the car in a situation it shouldn’t have been a couple times, but I’ve learned from that and now I think I’ve learned more through that than I would have if I would have been trying to take it easy and finish those top-25 finishes. Pushing the car, I’ve learned the edge. I’m not saying I won’t ever overstep that edge again, but I’ve definitely learned where it’s at and I’m trying to back it up a little bit. At Texas, we had a great run to get that going again, and I’m just learning these tracks. I think the best thing about Daytona was the respect from the other drivers to have the willingness to teach me. I can go to just about any driver in the garage and have that relationship now, where I can ask them and get questions answered about the tracks and they want to help me, so that’s good. Had I finished 30th at Daytona or something, they might have blown me off and kept going on with their day, so it’s been cool from that aspect to see them helping.”

Champion's breakfast: 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing Ford with Donnie Wingo, Eddie Wood and Len Wood
Champion's breakfast: 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing Ford with Donnie Wingo, Eddie Wood and Len Wood

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

HAD THAT ADVICE HELPED IN THE RACES SINCE? “I think so. Sometimes you can overthink it as a driver. A lot of times what we do is just natural, you don’t think about it and you go faster. You get in that rhythm they talk about at Martinsville or Texas you kind of feel the car. Sometimes I might overthink it a little bit, but I think all the help I’m getting has definitely been beneficial, especially since I’ve never been to a lot of these places in a Cup car. I’ve been there in Nationwide cars, but places like Martinsville and Indy – those kind of tracks – I’ve never been to at all, so any kind of help I can get is really good.”

DID YOU HEAR ANY TALK ABOUT MAYBE YOU DIDN’T DESERVE TO BE IN THE ALL-STAR RACE? “No. All the feedback I get like from Twitter and everything has been really, really good. People who say that, yeah, maybe I don’t deserve to be there because I’ve only been here half-a-year, but, in my eyes, if you look at how you get invited, we met the criteria so we’re in it. I’m not saying we’re gonna win the thing, but we’re in it and that’s awesome to me. I’m not trying to come in and make a big deal like, ‘Hey, look at me I won the Daytona 500.’ I would never do that, so I’m really happy about the opportunities that we are getting because of that.”

ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED YOU WON’T BE RUNNING A CUP RACE AT RICHMOND? “I didn’t ever think about that or getting the whole year, but now that you get in a rhythm of it every week and you’re running the first eight races – we kind of expected to run the first five and then take a break, but the more races you run in a row, the more you want to keep going. That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m like, ‘Well, after Talladega, I’m gonna want to go more.’ But I think it’s gonna be good for us to kind of recoup. We’re not a full-fledged Cup team like everybody else is, so I think it’s gonna be good for our guys that haven’t done this in a little while – to take a little rest and get ready to go again for the next one.”

EDDIE WOOD –

IS THE REAL BONUS TO THIS SPONSORSHIP DEAL GETTING EXTRA SEAT TIME FOR TREVOR AT CHARLOTTE BEFORE THE 600? “Yeah, it really is because you’re in the big show and everything matter, everything counts, everybody is bringing their best stuff. You do one or two live pit stops and that helps prepare everyone for the 600 too. The setup is at night, so it’s a good thing. Everybody gets to learn about the race track for the next week under real racing conditions with everybody there – all the big guys there – and it’ll be helpful. The things you learn in the All-Star Race will help you for the 600. And restrictor plate racing changes every race, so at Talladega we’re gonna have a new restrictor plate from Daytona. That will make a difference somewhere. It will make a difference in how they connect or if they can or can’t, so something will change and if you’re not there, then you’re a day behind. So it works out.”

-source: wood brothers racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR SPRINT CUP
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Trevor Bayne , Donnie Allison , Eric Gilbert , Denny Hamlin
Teams Wood Brothers Racing
Tags all-star charlotte, ford, sprint cup, talladega