|Trevor Bayne tested Wednesday|
With the Aaron’s Dream Weekend set for May 2-4 at Talladega Superspeedway, three drivers – led by Trevor Bayne of the famed the Wood Brothers Racing Team – took to the high banks of NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track Wednesday for a test session in hopes of gathering information to help their efforts upon their return.
Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 Champion, was joined by Tommy Baldwin Racing drivers Reed Sorenson and Michael Annett. Veteran crew chief Todd Parrott, who will head Sorenson’s effort, was also on hand after taking over the reins earlier this year. Bayne, behind the wheel of the iconic No. 21 Ford, paced the trio with an unofficial speed of 191.138 mph.
“It’s good to get in the car here at Talladega,” said Bayne, who hopes to give the Wood Brothers their sixth triumph at Talladega in May. “We feel like we have a good shot at winning here and we plan to learn as much as we can with this test. We will be back tomorrow.”
If he could pull off a victory, he would join an impressive list of drivers – David Pearson, along with Alabama’s Neil Bonnett and Donnie Allison – who have gone to victory lane at Talladega in the Wood’s car.
Len Wood, the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Owner of the team, said he can’t wait for NASCAR’s new qualifying format to take place at Talladega (Saturday, May 3), in which all cars will be allowed on the track in three elimination rounds to ultimately decide the pole winner.
“It's going to be a heckuva show – that is all you can say about it...a big-time scramble. It's going to be a strategy game here more than anywhere else. The leader of the pack won't be the fastest. The ones behind the leader of a pack will try to lag back, and at the perfect time, suck back up to the car in front of him in the draft. If the driver is able to time it right, he or she will be in great shape as the draft will pull him to the car in front of him, thus allowing him to be faster. Trevor is really good at this type of drafting.
“If you lag back too far, you will lose the draft and go backwards. Drivers will question themselves: ‘Do I want to lead? Who should I draft with?’ How long do I stay out in the first elimination round.’ It's going to be a chess match like no other in less than an hour."
After the first elimination round (25 minutes), the field will be reduced to the fastest 24 cars. The second round will be 10 minutes and reduce the field to the fastest 12 cars. The third and final round will be five minutes, and the fastest single lap time will determine positions first through 12th in descending order.
Bayne, who will also compete in the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race for Roush Fenway Racing, has eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at TSS, with his best start being fourth in the 2011 Aaron’s 499. Annett, who won an ARCA race at TSS in 2007, will be making his Sprint Cup Series debut at Talladega when he returns to the track for the Aaron’s 499 driving the No. 7 Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Sorenson will be making his first Sprint Cup start at Talladega since 2009. Today’s testing fell on his 28th birthday, and the track helped him celebrate by presenting him with a cake.
NASCAR returns to Talladega Superspeedway in 2014 with the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, which is set for May 2-4. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and ARCA Racing Series will take to the track on Saturday, May 3 while NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series machines take the green flag on Sunday, May 4. For ticket information, log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.