Trevor Bayne Daytona 400 Post-Qualifying Interview

By Ford Racing

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion

“I’m starting to like this room a lot. It seems like we’re always in here for good reasons, so, man, it stinks to be that close to a pole and not get it, but I’m just really proud of the guys for building another car. Obviously, we don’t have the one that’s sitting in the Daytona USA museum, but they’ve built me another one that’s just as good and we’re happy to be able to show how fast it is and hopefully, it’ll be that way in the race.”

Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

DID YOU THINK YOU WERE GOING TO WIN THE POLE? “When you are that fast, but it’s that early in qualifying you try to never think that you’ve got the pole. You always just say, ‘Alright, this is a good, top 10 run or top 5 run because most of the time somebody at the very end will knock you off and you feel pretty bad if you’ve been expecting to be on the pole the whole time, so, for me, I was just really happy to be in the top 10. We had to do it on time and then I knew there were some really good cars at the very end, but when it starts getting down to like the last 10 you start to think, ‘Man, I might have a shot at this pole because we’ve held off a lot of good cars already.’ Obviously, we were a little bummed not to get the pole. We were all standing on top of the trailer watching and I kept saying, ‘Man, that would be cool. This person is lined up here,’ and Len and Eddie would say, ‘Alright, it’s too early for that. Just hang on a minute.’ They were keeping me in check, but you always want to get the best starting spot possible, but we’re definitely happy with the front row.”

HAVE YOU TALKED WITH DAVID RAGAN ABOUT RESTARTS OR WORKING WITH HIM? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO TRY TO DO THIS TIME? “Try to do it all over again. You don’t want to come here with a mindset of ‘I have to win or we can win.’ You come here with a mindset of the same thing we had last time where we have to finish the race and be in the top 15 and then we’ll have a chance to win. It never crossed my mind that we were gonna win that race, even at the very end, so I think you just have to keep yourself in check and stay out of trouble and find partners. I think David Ragan will probably be a master of the restarts this time because he learned the hard way, but you just find whoever you’re around. I haven’t really worked out anything with anybody in particular yet, but we were waiting on qualifying to see who is around us. We have some good cars around us and then as the race changes you’re able to shift out partners, but I like staying loyal to people. If we work well with somebody early, I’d love to stay with them, but we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.”

DO YOU HAVE THIS TRACK FIGURED OUT? “The Wood Brothers have this track figured out. I can say that, but as a driver in qualifying, really Clint could tell you, too that this is a cool place to get a pole, but then again as a driver you would rather get it somewhere else because you actually had to do something. Here, you’re just running the top and then you go to the bottom and make sure you don’t bind the car up any and run the shortest line possible, so in the race there’s a lot of thought that goes into it – not tearing up your equipment and finding partners and timing out the ending right, but as far as qualifying goes, that just goes to show what the teams can do and the Wood Brothers and Donnie Wingo and those guys have done a great job with our superspeedway cars. I think this is one of the place where time in a car pays off. There are a lot of places, but this is amplified. When you put a lot of time into a car and really work at it and try to figure things out, it really shows on the track as speed.”

WHY IS THERE A DISCREPANCY IN THE CARS THAT DRAFTED TOGETHER IN QUALIFYING? “You can see it in practice. When two cars get together and they catch and try to time out to catch that pack in front of them to go to the top of the board, for our team, we never made any drafting runs in practice. We did two mock runs because we had to make it on time and people pulled out in front of us on those runs, so we didn’t really hardly get any practice at all, but I think Clint is right – you’ve got to try to figure out before you get going there at the beginning of the race who it’s gonna be and get to him as quick as you can and try to stick together. I guess at driver intros I’ll be trying to figure it out a little better.”

SO YOU DON’T HAVE A PARTNER SET ALREADY? “Not really. I’ve talked to a lot of people, but before qualifying for us because we’re a single-car team, if we were a two-car team or a four-car team, you can kind of scout out, ‘OK, you’re my buddy and you’re my buddy,’ and you kind of get it figured out. But when you’re a single-car team, you kind of just talk to everybody and then figure out who is around you and who doesn’t have a partner because they’re gonna be loyal to their teammates first, so, for us, we just have to find the odd man out and try to work with them.”

WHAT DRIVER OR CARS DID YOU THINK MIGHT KNOCK YOU OFF THE POLE? “It was right toward the end. I think there were 10 cars left. There were four RCR cars, two Hendrick cars, the two Petty cars, and I guess the Penske cars, so we were talking about that and trying to figure out which group of those cars was gonna be the fastest. But since no RCR cars had gone yet, we didn’t really know and then after the first one went we were like, ‘OK, we might be alright.’ I think it was Harvick and then Clint kind of surprised us when he went to third because he was a pretty good bit faster than the 29 car, so that kind of threw us off a little bit. And then we didn’t know about the Petty cars or the Penske cars, but I kind of figured the 5 or the 24 were gonna be the best bets at beating us because their teammates were already up there in third and fifth at the time. I kind of expected one of them to knock us off, but it’s really cool to be second. I didn’t expect to be that high up on the board.”

JEFF GORDON IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU SO IT’S KIND OF BACK TO BUSINESS, RIGHT? “Yeah, exactly. When the 6 car was right behind us for a little while I was pretty pumped about that. I’m sure I’ll try to find him a little bit, but to have the 24 and 5 around us, I’m sure they’ll probably pair up, but, if not, I would love to find Jeff out there or one of those guys. I’m sure I’ll try to find a Ford first, and then it’s good to have those other guys around us like the Hendrick cars. We’re definitely in good company, so we’ll see what we can work out.”

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO COME BACK HERE? “Coming into the tunnel it didn’t sink in that I was coming back to Daytona. I got here kind of late after going to the governor’s mansion and doing all of that, so we pulled in and then the next day when I got on the track in the Nationwide car, as soon as I pulled onto the track I realized that my last lap here was a victory lap. So as soon as you’re making that first lap you’re kind of going through the motions again and kind of feeling how you felt the last time when you’re coming down the frontstretch and pulling down the tri-oval you kind of relive all of that and it was really neat. That was the biggest eye-opener and kind of cold-chill moment for me was when I finally got back on the track, more so than just coming through the tunnel.”

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EMOTIONS AFTER YOUR MEDICAL ISSUES AND MENTAL ANGUISH? “I don’t know if I had any mental anguish. I might have spun some people out a little bit at the shop when I was gone for like five weeks and they were wondering where I was, but, to me, for some reason I just had a peace about everything. I did go through some tough times and some really good times, so we found out what our team was made of and I found out what I was made of, and found out who was really supportive of us. For the most part, everybody in the NASCAR community kind of caught me off guard with how supportive they were – all the way from the race teams to the drivers to the fans and everybody has been so good to us that anything that came from that was good beside me missing the races. It’s been a good experience whether they were tough times or really on top of the world kind of times this year. We’ve learned a lot.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags daytona international speedway, ford, nascar, nscs, sprint cup, trevor bayne, wood brothers racing