Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers had high hopes upon returning to the scene of their Daytona 500 triumph and then winning the outside pole for the Coke Zero 400, but another strong run at Daytona International Speedway for the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion was not to be.
Bayne was knocked out in a crash when the race was just four laps old.
He was running in tandem with the No. 2 Dodge of Brad Keselowski when the two made contact with Bayne spinning into the wall and damaging his car too much to continue. He wound up 41st in the final finishing order of a race won by one of his Daytona 500 drafting mates, fellow Ford driver David Ragan.
“At the beginning of the race we didn’t really have a plan of who we were going to work with,” Bayne said. “The other Ford cars had teammates already, and we were going to work on whoever we found.”
At the start, he worked successfully with Clint Bowyer, but Bowyer dropped off to pick up his teammate, leaving Bayne to search for another partner.
He found Keselowski, but it didn’t work out like he’d planned.
“I wanted to be a pusher, because I know that these things can happen,” Bayne said. “He got to us and was pushing us down the frontstretch. I was still kind of lifting a little bit, letting him get to my bumper, and then I got back to the gas wide-open.
“I don’t know if I turned down more getting in or if he kind of came up across our bumper, but, either way, our bumpers caught wrong and it sent us spinning.”
Bayne and the Woods had planned a conservative race strategy, figuring to save their car for the finish.
“I was just planning on riding at the beginning,” Bayne said. “There’s no reason we should have been out of this race with the mindset that we had. We were just going to ride it out and keep the car in one piece until the end.”
And from what he saw in practice, qualifying and the first few laps of the race, the outcome could have been far different.
“It was fast there at the beginning,” Bayne said. “The four Hendrick cars had to team up on us to get by me and Clint Bowyer, so I knew we had a good race car, and it qualified really well. If it was going to be a winner, we’ll never know, but I think it could have been for sure.”
Bayne pointed out that spins in the tandem draft aren’t anything new, but it is particularly disappointing when one of them wrecks a car as good as the one his Wood Brothers team prepared for him.
“I hate tearing up a good race car, and they duplicated what we had here in February, which is hard to do,” he said.
“I’m thankful for the Wood Brothers standing behind me through everything I’ve been through this year, and for Ford and Quick Lane and Motorcraft and Ford Parts.com and everybody that’s been around all year long for everything.
“It’s good to have people like that around.”
Bayne and the Woods return to the Sprint Cup circuit on July 31 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.