There was relief all around the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team Saturday afternoon when the green flag waved to start knockout qualifying for Sunday’s John Wayne Walding 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With no guaranteed starting spot to fall back on if rain washed out qualifying, Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team needed a chance to qualify their way into the starting field for one of NASCAR’s most prestigious races. Rain was a possibility as Saturday morning’s final practice was delayed by a brief but heavy line of storms.
When the green flag did fly on Saturday, Bayne and the team did not disappoint. He was 12th fastest in the first of three qualifying sessions with a lap at 185.854 miles per hour, which most importantly locked him into the starting field but also allowed him to advance to the second qualifying round.
In the second session he ran a lap at 184.869 mph, which puts him 20th in the line-up for Sunday’s 400-mile race.
“We knew that if it didn’t rain and we got to qualify that our car was reasonably fast,” team co-owner Len Wood said. “Trevor did a really good job.”
Wood said the team used a lot of its resources, both in practice and in the first round of qualifying, to make sure the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion was in the starting field at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It’s our second-biggest race of the year, and the Wood Brothers have a lot of history here,” he said. “We couldn’t focus as much on race practice because of needing to get in the race.”
Because of the emphasis on perfecting a qualifying set-up, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will rely on their Ford teammates, especially those at Roush Fenway Racing, to prepare their Fusion for race day.
“We’ll pool the resources and see where we stack up,” Wood said.