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NASCAR Sprint Cup - Bayne Starts 18th In Return To Texas

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Fort Worth, April 9, 2011: Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew picked up right where they left off last fall at Texas Motor Speedway, running through a productive practice session then grabbing a respectable 18th-place starting spot despite qualifying in the heat of the afternoon, when speeds typically are slower. Returning to the track where he made his Sprint Cup debut in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, Bayne and his crew spent most of their practice time with the car in race trim.

When it came time to run against clock in time trials, the speeds picked up significantly.

“I think we picked up like six to eight-tenths [of a second per lap] from practice,” Bayne said, adding that he was second-guessing himself a bit afterwards. “It was a really good in [Turns] One and Two, and right up to the point where I was going to lift I couldn’t decide if I was going to go high or low in Three and Four, and at the last minute I decided to go low and probably should have gone high.”

Bayne’s qualifying lap at 187.019 miles per hour indeed was much faster than his best lap in practice, which was at 181.886 mph.

His qualifying effort also was an improvement over last year, when he qualified 28th. For the team, this year’s race preparation is far different because the team came to Texas guaranteed a starting spot since they’re among the top 35 in car owner points. That allowed Bayne and his Donnie Wingo-led crew to spend most of practice preparing for Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 instead of just trying to make the race as they had to do last year.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he’s optimistic about his team’s chances in Saturday’s race.

“This is the car from Vegas which ran really well there, and all the Ford’s seem to run well on mile-and-a-half tracks and our car should be no different,” he said. “We dyno’d it on Monday, and it has a really good engine. The engineering side of it is really on its game and I think we will be OK.”

The Samsung Mobile 500 is set to get the green flag on Saturday just after 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday with TV coverage on FOX.