Wood Brothers Racing press release
Defending Daytona 500 Champions Confident After Strong Happy Hour Run
February 26, 2012 -The preliminaries for the 54th annual Daytona 500 are done, and the defending champions are ready to roll. Driver Trevor Bayne has tested himself in almost every possible on-track scenario, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew has repaired the damage from Thursday’s Gatorade Duel and tuned the No. 21 Ford Fusion for The Great American Race
Bayne and his Wood Brothers team ended Saturday’s Happy Hour practice session 2nd on the speed chart with a lap of 200.129 miles per hour, trailing only his drafting partner and fellow Ford Fusion driver David Gilliland, who clocked in at 200.138 mph.
The Ford FR9 engine used in qualifying and the Duel has been replaced with a fresh one for the 500, as NASCAR rules allow for the Daytona 500.
The only thing missing from the Wood Brothers team is co-owner Len Wood, who is home recuperating from muscle spasms in his back, but even his absence can be interpreted as a positive sign. The last Daytona 500 he missed was back in 1972; and that one turned out just fine for the Woods’, as A.J. Foyt lapped the field to give the team the third of its five Daytona 500 victories.
Wood’s brother, Eddie said he and the Donnie Wingo led crew are feeling confident after Saturday’s practice. The No. 21 Ford Fusion appears to be just as fast as it was before incurring the damage to the right-rear quarter panel and front splitter in Thursday’s Duel, and Bayne has another practice session under his belt as he adjusts to running in a big pack, with some tandem drafting at times.
“We had a good practice” Wood said. “We ran in the middle of the pack, at the back, and in the front. We also did a bit of tandem drafting with David Gilliland and we’re ready to go.”
The 54th annual Daytona 500 is set to take the green flag just after 1 p.m. with TV coverage on FOX.