With their 20th-place qualifying effort on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Trevor Bayne and his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team successfully completed a season of walking a qualifying tight rope with no safety net.
Sixteen times this season, Bayne has left pit road on qualifying day with no assurance that he’d take the green flag in the race, as his team’s partial schedule means it doesn’t have the luxury of a guaranteed starting spot.
For the Ford EcoBoost 400 qualifying session, there was even more pressure than usual. The high-profile, championship-deciding Sprint Cup season finale is sponsored by another member of the same Ford racing family that backs the Wood Brothers team.
“I broke a sweat and it isn't even hot outside,” Bayne said. “It is a tight field here for making the race this weekend it seems like.”
In addition to the field being so competitive, he had to overcome a bobble or two to post a lap at 172.662 miles per hour.
“Coming through [Turns] Thr...