Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion were in the hunt for victory for most of Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. As the laps wound down, Bayne was leading a pack of drivers making a charge in the outside lane. He drove under the white flag in eighth place and counting, but his plans didn’t pan out, and he wound up steering his way through some late-race wreckage to finish 20th.
“Up to the white flag I thought we had shot at that thing with the 2 car [the Ford Fusion of Brad Keselowski] pushing us,” Bayne said.
But the beating and banging that is typical of green-white-checkered-flag runs to the finish of restrictor-plate races ended his bid for a finish at the front.
“We had the top with open track ahead of us and the 17 [the Ford Fusion of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.] got in there somehow to our left-rear and got us completely sideways,” Bayne said. “I thought we were crashed, so luckily we didn’t tear it up and finish that one early, but it wasn’t the finish we were looking for with that strong of a car.
“We ran in the top 10 all day and could drive to the front, but we just didn’t get a good finish.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood left Daytona happy.
“All you can ask for in a restrictor-plate race is to have a fast car and be in a position to contend for the win when it comes to a green-white-checkered-flag finish,” he said. “And we were in the mix all night long.”
Bayne started 20th, and was running fourth by Lap 40. Throughout the race, he was able to move through the field with relative ease.
Wood said that ability to race well was what the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew was working toward in both of Thursday’s practice sessions, a strategy made possible by the fact that there were just 43 teams vying for the 43 starting positions.
“Since we didn’t have to worry about qualifying for the race, we got to spend time on the race set-up, and it paid off,” he said.
Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team return to action in three weeks when the Sprint Cup Series returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.