Bayne Passes First Indy Test, Qualifying 25th For The Brickyard 400
Faced with the prospect of missing NASCAR’s second-biggest race, rookie Trevor Bayne and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane team took the conservative route in qualifying for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But when Bayne sped over the famed yard of bricks on his qualifying lap, he’d run a lap at 181.134 miles per hour, which was good enough for the 25th starting position.
It also was the best performance of the “go or go home” drivers who had to qualify on speed. Bayne and the Woods are in that group despite winning the Daytona 500 because they’re running a limited schedule and therefore are no longer among the top 35 in car owner points. The top 35 are assured starting spots.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said Bayne didn’t have much trouble adapting to the Brickyard, which is one of the most demanding race courses on the Sprint Cup circuit.
“Trevor did a great job,” Wood said. “He caught on quickly. He had three practice sessions, but that’s still not a lot of laps.”
Wood said the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team’s goal in qualifying was simply to get a starting spot for Sunday.
“We wanted to run a conservative lap,” Wood said. “Trevor did a great job and didn’t overextend himself.”
Bayne said knows where he gave up time on his qualifying lap and where he could have pressed the issue if he’d had the assurance of a guaranteed a starting spot.
“I would have carried more speed into [Turns] One and Three,” he said. “I think I could have definitely used a little bit less brake and carried it in and turned in earlier.”
He also said his qualifying lap was somewhat influenced by his double duties this weekend that have had him shuttling back and forth between the Nationwide Series action at Lucas Oil Raceway and the Cup race at the Brickyard.
“I’ve been at the short track, so I’m used to turning fast with a fast steering box, and then I got here and it didn’t turn quick enough,” Bayne said. “I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to beat the wheel to this thing,’ so I just got down a little bit sooner and carried more speed into One and Three.”
Bayne’s challenge now is to get through 400 miles on a race track that is not very forgiving, especially for those starting in mid-pack. The drivers build speed down the long straight-aways, then have to navigate their way through tight turns will almost no banking, with 42 other drivers trying to do the same thing.
“We’ll have to be careful,” Wood said. “It’s a very narrow race track, especially on the start.”
Bayne said he’s confident that he can give the No. 21 Ford Fusion a strong run on Sunday.
“The Wood Brothers have been behind me from the beginning, and they’ve been behind me all weekend and we’ve picked up every time we’ve hit the track and that’s all we can ask for,” he said. “Now we’ve got 400 miles to pick up some more on Sunday.
“It’s awesome for Ford, Motorcraft and Quick Lane. It’s a cool deal to be here and be out here on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.”
By: wood brothers racing