Bayne targets another Ford milestone
June 14, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- When it comes to big moments, Trevor Bayne seems to find himself in the right place at the right time.
In 2011, he became the youngest winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ biggest event, capturing the Daytona 500 a day after celebrating his 20th birthday.
It was the 600th victory in the series for Ford Motor Co. and ended a lengthy drought for the legendary Wood Brothers Racing organization.
A week ago in Iowa, Bayne was making milestone news again. His NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford was No. 200 in the series for the automaker.
There are no guarantees, but Ford officials already have a banner celebrating win No. 1,000 waiting to be unveiled, just in case.
“They told me when we were getting off the plane this weekend we were going for the 1,000th win and for some reason we love getting those milestone victories,” Bayne said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “I feel kind of bad because those guys worked hard to get 599 (in Cup) and I came in and got the 600th, and then I did get to contribute to another one of the 199 (in Nationwide) before last weekend, but it’s so cool to be a part of Ford.”
Riding a streak of three straight top-10 Nationwide Series finishes, Bayne has climbed from 12th to ninth in points in the past three races.
His team, which won back-to-back titles with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., is beginning to come around, he said.
“We just needed to stick to the basics, not try too hard and just realize that other teams have gotten better this season,” Bayne said. “What Ricky had might not work for me and don’t be so scared to change the cars. I was like, ‘Man, this car won here last year, I’ve got to leave it alone.’ I was kind of scared to change things. I’d give feedback, but I wanted to stay with the basics.”
The Iowa win “really helped” open him up to making changes, he said. After Stenhouse won three consecutive races there, the team struggled when Goodyear changed the tire combination.
“So I knew we’d have to work on the package,” Bayne said. “We went there with the mindset, ‘let’s rip this thing apart, change everything on it and get it dialed in.’ We got it fixed for me, (got) what I needed and it paid off.”
Bayne trails Smith by 80 points. He says he’s confident his team, led by crew chief Mike Kelly, can make up the deficit. The group, he said, has remained focused.
“After coming off of two championships it would be easy to get down if you had a couple bad races,” Bayne said, “but they stayed motivated and didn’t let that snowball. A lot of that is because of Mike Kelley’s leadership and the guys on the team want to win races.