Trevor Bayne was out at Michigan International Speedway earlier this week testing with Wood Brothers Racing in preparation for the event in June. Speeds were hitting over 200 mph as Michigan has become one of the fastest tracks since the repave last year.
With Michigan being right in Ford’s backyard, it is an important race for the Wood Brothers Racing team and that’s why they were testing.
“We want to have a strong run and use this information we use today to bring it back for the Cup race and transfer that to the Nationwide race as well,” Bayne said.
Bayne has had quick cars at Michigan in the past, qualifying top 10 last year, though no luck. He was running in the top 10 last year before blowing a tire.
Bayne would love to race at Michigan for the Wood Brothers because outside of the Brickyard and Daytona, this is one of the biggest tracks for any driver to win on with the manufactures right there in the backyard.
“We always have everybody here and it is a big deal to run good here,” he added. “Like I said before, that is kind of why we came to test here. To get a win her would be close – not quite the Daytona 500 – but close.”
When it comes to testing, it’s all about the data that you can’t get on normal weekends with regards to grip level, and also making changes you normally don’t have time for.
“We will do big stuff and see what it does and hopefully have a better direction of where to start when we come back,” he commented. “We don’t really work on balance, you normally hear guys complain about being loose or tight during a race but that is not something we normally work on during a test. We try to get it close and then try to work on the big stuff on the car.”
Bayne added the balance is something that they don’t consider of being importance due to being temperature and rubber sensitive.
The test is a crucial test due to the fact NASCAR is running new cars with the Generation 6 cars this year. Bayne says one of the improvements he’s recognized is the amount of mechanical grip.
The downforce on the cars – you are so limited with how big these race cars are and the hole they punch through the wind – there is only so much you can do with the aero. When you get a car in front of you it will always change how your car drives. I think they have done a good job of making it better. They will keep improving on that and the mechanical grip side of it and that is all you can ask for.”
While Bayne may be focusing on the Cup car during the test, his true focus is in the Nationwide Series where is vying for the championship with Roush Fenway Racing. So far this season he has two top fives and three top 10s.
“This season so far has been one of the bumpiest of my career as far as finishes and results,” Bayne commented. “We have been super fast in the Nationwide and Cup series’ but we have broken a rear gear, blew an engine, got grass on the grille at Texas running fourth and finished 24th. Last week at Darlington we got crashed by a lap car. Everything you could ask for has happened to us.”
As far as the future down the road, Bayne says the plan is to work towards running full time in Cup with Roush Fenway Racing as that’s been the plan from when he signed with Roush.
“I never knew I would be driving the 21 car when I signed with them in 2010,” Bayne commented. “That was kind of a bonus. I drove one race in 2010 and then obviously after the 500 in 2011 we took over the car full time and it has been a great ride and I really appreciate the Wood Brothers giving me that opportunity but from the beginning our plan was to drive with Roush full time in the Sprint Cup series, so hopefully that will happen at some point.”