Ford Performance NASCAR: Trevor Bayne Bristol Q&A Session

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Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes

Bristol Night Race Advance – Bristol Motor Speedway

Friday, August 18, 2017

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion and a native of nearby Knoxville, TN, is coming off a fifth-place finish last weekend at Michigan International Speedway.  He spoke about returning to his home track and the chances of making the NASCAR Playoffs by getting a victory here tomorrow night.

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion – “It’s good to be home.  I promise it doesn’t always rain in Tennessee, but it does every time we come to down.  We’re ready to go.  Obviously, we would have liked to have gotten some of those laps in practice that we didn’t get because of the delays, but we feel like we’re getting our Ford a lot faster and making progress.  We’ve had some really strong runs here the last three races at Bristol, and we feel like at this point in the season we’ve had some good runs.  Coming off of our best finish of the season we’re looking to improve on that this weekend.  We feel like this is probably one of our best shots to win a race to get into the chase.  Bristol presents a lot of opportunity for strategy.  Our cars have been pretty fast here, so we’ve put a lot of effort into this one – if it’s possible to put anymore effort into a race we’ve done that this weekend.  Jack has obviously voiced his opinion about going for it and making sure we do everything we can to earn our spot.  I’m excited to be here and excited to have the Ford Performance paint scheme.  We’re honoring Tim Duerr this weekend, who has been at Ford for 40 years.  You guys probably all know Tim.  He walks around and we give him a hard time.  He gives us Ford Performance golf balls a lot of times and we give him a hard time about that because we spread them around the country pretty good.  We’re not very good at golf.”

ANY THOUGHTS ON IF WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A MUSTANG SOON IN CUP?  “Obviously, bodies are something we’re always working on.  We want to stay current with the production vehicles and we want to stay as close to the competition as we can on the race track.  I know that Ford is doing their best to make sure that we have everything we need on the race track.  They haven’t given me a timeline or anything like that as to when we could expect a body, but, obviously, when you see other manufacturers unveiling it comes up in our driver meetings and Ford meetings and things like that and it’s a discussion, but we want to make sure we do it right and have a great-looking car on the race track, one that can perform.  I know Ford is definitely discussing body stuff with all the new releases.”

WHAT ARE YOUR OFF-WEEK PLANS?  A STAYCATION?  “We should.  Every time we have an off-weekend we leave and go somewhere on vacation and we’re like, ‘Why did we leave?  We should have just stayed home for a little while and enjoyed where we never get to be, which is home.’  But this time we’re gonna go on vacation again.  My wife and I were talking yesterday and we realize we haven’t been on a vacation, just the two of us, since Ellie was born, so that’s been almost two years now.  We’re ready to go on vacation together.  Race season just gets so hectic and our other off-weekend is Easter, so we go home and spend time with our family, but we’ve got a little boy and a little girl.  Our little boy doesn’t sleep great, so we’re just looking forward to three nights of sleep and that’s probably all we’ll do, but we’re gonna go and leave them with our parents and have a good time.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN HERE AT BRISTOL?  “A top-five would be awesome, but we need that win.  That’s what we’re pushing for.  That’s what we’re hoping for.  Last weekend, it felt good to get a top-five, but we were third going into turn three and I could see the leaders and I sailed it in there trying to go for it on the top and it didn’t stick, but third or fifth is no different to me when you’ve got to go for it.  The same here.  If we’re in that situation and we can go for a win, I think you lay it all out there and if you don’t get a top-five because you went for it, then you have to go for it.  But Bristol is really special to me as you guys know.  It’s where I started watching racing and became a race fan and always wanted to race here, so to win here would be really cool.  I think this would probably be my favorite place to get a win at just because all my friends and family are here.  I think the victory lane is pretty neat on top of the building and that atmosphere at Bristol is so special and so cool.  I think a lot of drivers, even if you’re not from here, would love to win at this place.  It’s a tough race track mentally, physically on the cars, trying to take care of your equipment, strategy stuff, pit stops are really important.  A lot of things can go right or they can go wrong and we’re hoping we’re on the good side of that and we can do what we need to do and earn ourselves a spot in the chase.”

WHAT CAN YOU TRY HERE FROM A STRATEGY STANDPOINT TO BE AGGRESSIVE AND TAKE CHANCES?  “We’re building up our confidence.  If you watch Indy and see how that played out, it could have been a win there.  Michigan, the same thing.  A lot of people don’t realize that we were good on fuel to the end there as well until the caution came out.  It would have been a tough battle to hold off Truex, who was coming fast, but we would have had a shot to do that.  So Matt is doing really good at calling the races.  We spend a lot of time talking about strategy.  We feel like that’s our strength and we have to make the most of it.  I don’t feel like I have a car that has the raw speed to go out and beat some of those guys right now, so we have to do better at other things if we’re gonna win races.  You watch Austin Dillon’s win at Charlotte this year and how they were able to do fuel strategy and win that race.  That’s the kind of stuff we have to be looking at is how can we stay out at the end, do fuel strategy runs or even like we did last weekend, if we can take two tires and we feel like we’re close enough on speed to make that work, you just put yourself in position.  Bristol is a place where the best car doesn’t always win.  Guys that have good strategy, get track position, have a good restart – we saw that kind of last year when I got my top-five here.  We just restarted on the top a lot and I was able to pick people off and that’s what you do.  If you’re sixth on the last restart, you’ve got a shot to win the race and that’s the position we have to put ourselves in.”

WHAT’S MORE AGGRAVATING – NOT HAVING ANY CHANCE AT ALL OR THAT THE BRASS RING IS SOMETIMES SO CLOSE YOU CAN ALMOST TOUCH IT?  “That’s what I have to remind myself of.  After Indy I was really frustrated that it didn’t play out the way I wanted it to, but then I had to remind myself, ‘Man, I could have just run 15th or 20th all day and never had a shot at it at all, and that wouldn’t be any fun.’  So, to me, it’s much better to have an opportunity and it not go your way.  At least you’re there.  At least you’ve got a shot at it than running 25th or 30th all day long, two laps down, and never having a shot.  It’s way more fun to be in situations where if everything goes your way and you make the most of an opportunity, you can have a shot at it.  Again, I feel like we have work to do to get our cars to where we can talk about wins week-in and week-out, top-fives, top-10s.  Right now, we’re 15th to 20th-place cars, I feel like, and that’s an improvement.  That’s a good thing.  But we still want to be where we’re top-10 cars on our worst day and then our best days are wins.  Right now, we have to hit everything right and we’ve done that a couple times, and we just have to keep doing that, but it’s fun to be in those opportunities.  It’s a lot better.  Even though it’s tough when you lose a race and you have a shot at it.  Man, it hurts because you don’t get many shots at that.  Indy, I’ve talked about it four times already, but how many chances do you have at the Brickyard to win?  Man, that was kind of too close.  It hurt, but at least we had a shot.  The same at Michigan.  We’re up there where we need to be and we just have to keep putting ourselves in those situations.”

HOW HAS THE CHANGE FROM THREE TEAMS TO TWO IMPACTED ROUSH FENWAY?  “All these race teams have really good sales and marketing teams that give us really good messaging points.  So whether we expand or contract it’s always good news right? (laughing)  In all honesty, I feel like Ricky and I do really well working together as teammates.  I feel like our crew chiefs do well together.  Our whole organization is more streamlined.  It’s more focused and that’s due to a lot of changes, not just two teams.  But this season I feel like we’ve had growth.  We’ve performed better.  Ricky’s got two wins this year.  Our speedway program gave me shots to win.  My car was really fast and I feel like we’re just executing better.  We’re able to focus on that.  We still have areas to improve on that going to two cars doesn’t fix, but what it does do is allow us to implement things a little bit quicker, get them in the cars.  When you’re doing two cars instead of three on Monday, if you come up with something that’s the next latest greatest thing, you’ve got to have it by that weekend and if you’ve got three cars to do, it’s a little bit tougher.  But as far as data and all that, the more sometimes the better, but also that can be distracting.  As a driver or a crew chief when you’ve got five setups to look at instead of two, you can kind of get yourself off.  I feel like each weekend Ricky and I have kind of passed it back and forth on who has the faster car in practice or qualifying or the race, and we keep pushing each other and our teams keep pushing each other.  I like what I see at Roush Fenway Racing.  We’re making gains, not as quick as we want to – ever – but we’re making gains and that’s hard to do in this sport.  It’s hard just to stay the same in this sport because everybody around you is getting better, so we’re keeping up.  I feel like our summer slump has been a little less than normal.  I feel like we haven’t gotten the results through circumstances, but we’ve maintained this year and if we can make our normal off-season jump that we always make and then maintain again, eventually we’re gonna get to where we need to be.”

ANY PLANS FOR MONDAY’S ECLIPSE?  “I’ll be in Knoxville, so I’m gonna go put myself in the traffic and drive around with a welding helmet and see if I can’t look at the sun a little bit.  That’s what everybody says to do.  I don’t know how my retinas are gonna like it.  I was expecting it to be like complete dark, you just look up at it and everybody is like, ‘No, you cannot stare at the sun.’  I’ll get out a welding helmet, I guess.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DARLINGTON COMING UP?  “Last year, Darlington was really tough.  We lost an engine pretty early in the race, but I did learn a little bit during that race.  We were running around on seven cylinders and I started that run right with the 48 and he ran away from me obviously when I was on seven cylinders, but at the end of the run we actually caught him back and passed him on seven and I realized how important tire management is there – not that I didn’t already know that, but the fact that we could catch a car as fast as the 48 on seven cylinders blew my mind.  So going to Darlington this time we’re obviously trying to implement that, backing up my corners, making sure I get to the gas early, saving tires, working on stuff like that, but Darlington is not typically one you can save fuel at because tires are so important.  So we’ve got to get our cars faster.  We’ve just got to work on it.  I love running the top at race tracks.  I like doing that here at Bristol, Homestead, the old Texas, Vegas, California – places you can run the top.  I would think Darlington would be a strong suit for us, but it just hasn’t played out, so I need to buckle down and figure out how to get a good result there.”

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