Bayne, Good Sam Team Take Restrictor-Plate Prowess To Talladega
Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers head to the Sprint Cup Series’ second restrictor-plate race of 2011 with a different car and different colors but hoping for the same result they got in the first plate race of the season.
Back in February, Bayne, running in the Cup Series for just the second time and just a day past his 20th birthday, proved to be adept at the two-car tandem draft and delivered his team its fifth triumph in NASCAR’s biggest race.
Now it’s on to Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway, for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499.
This weekend, the famed No. 21 Ford Fusion will be carrying the red and yellow colors of the Good Sam Club, and the car number will have a different look too. The curvy style of numbers chosen by Good Sam’s Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis is the same that Wood Brothers team founder Glen Wood ran on his Fords in the late 1950s. The paint scheme is similar too, choices that pleased the younger generations of the Wood family.
“I really like that number,” team co-owner Len Wood said.
The actual car itself is new too, since the Daytona 500 winner is on display at Daytona until next February. But Wood said this week’s car should be equally fast.
“It’s the car we used at the tire test at Daytona last December,” Wood said. “And it was pretty fast there.”
From all indications, Sunday’s race at Talladega will see the return of the two-car tandem drafts that Bayne adapted to so quickly at Daytona.
“The race will be something similar to Daytona, especially since the surface at Talladega is so smooth now,” Wood said.
Nobody would draft with us until Kyle Busch finally did.
Daytona was repaved last year, and Talladega’s pavement is just five years old.
One factor that should be different is Bayne’s ability to line up drafting partners, at least early on.
At Daytona, no one wanted to take a chance on the rookie in the early practice sessions of Speedweeks.
“Nobody would draft with us until Kyle Busch finally did,” Wood said.
But Bayne was a fast learner. During the first Gatorade Duel, he stood atop the team hauler and studied Ford teammate Matt Kenseth’s moves in the draft. He noticed that Kenseth was pulling his car to the right occasionally, allowing his Ford FR9 engine to get some cooling, while continuously pushing the car in front of him. By moving to the right, the pushing driver isn’t as likely to spin the car in front of him. Bayne did the same thing, earning himself the reputation of a reliable pusher. That allowed him to be in position to win in the final laps.
Len Wood, whose family team has five wins and six poles at Talladega but hasn’t raced there since 2008, said this Sunday’s race has the potential to have just as dramatic an ending as the Daytona 500.
“It should be an interesting race,” he said.