Wednesday, June 19, 2013
By Paul Betit firstname.lastname@example.org
OXFORD - Trevor Bayne, winner of the Daytona 500 in 2011, spent Saturday getting to know the car he will race today in the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.
39TH TD BANK 250
WHEN: Today; qualifying heats start at 2 p.m.; pre-race ceremonies at 5:30 p.m.; green flag drops at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford
Bayne, who arrived in Maine during the early morning hours Saturday, participated in all four practice sessions in an effort to get a feel for the new Late Model car he'll be driving.
"I've run one Late Model race in my life, and that was in Myrtle Beach Speedway when I was 15 or 16," he said.
Late Models are not as a powerful as the Super Late Models Bayne drives on the Sprint Cup or Nationwide tours.
"The biggest thing to me is getting use to the adjustments on the car," he said. "With the Nationwide or (Sprint) Cup car, I can say 'OK, we need . . . these kinds of adjustments,' and I know what kind of feel I'm looking for, where as here I don't really know what feel I'm looking for.
"I'm just trying to get better lap times and feeling a little more comfortable, but I don't know where I'm going to end up at."
While he's getting used to the car, Bayne, 21, also is trying to get a feel for the three-eighths-of-a-mile racetrack.
Before coming to Maine, he talked to Sprint Cup drivers Kyle Busch, who won the 250 last year, and Brad Keselowski, who competed in the event two years ago.
"They gave me some advice on the track here and how it would be, so I'm sort of trusting them and going off with that a little bit," he said. "We're trying to make some progress, but it's definitely hard when I'm not used to (the track)."
Still, Bayne, who grew up in Tennessee, seems to have a handle on the intricacies of the speedway.
"It's definitely a track where you've got to be on top of the wheel at all times," he said. "You don't get any breathers. You don't go down to the front stretch and catch your breath and go into a corner. You're kind of constantly turning and wheeling it. It's a tough place, and there's so many things going on with the race car because there's so many transitions."
Car owner and crew chief Kendall Roberts, who is from Barre, Vt., seemed quite impressed with Bayne's approach to his driving assignment.
"He knows where the car is tight, loose, and things you have to work on," he said. "It's not one of those things like 'Oh, the tires are tight' but where is it tight? He can tell you right where it's tight, right where it's loose and where you've got to work on it."
In the past, Roberts has provided cars for the 250 to Keselowski and Stephen Wallace, son of former Sprint Cup driver and current ESPN racing analyst Rusty Wallace.
"None of the other guys who drove with me got under the car with me and looked things over," he said. "He's been right under the car with me, making suggestions and some of his suggestions have been way better than mine. It's great to work with him."
During Saturday's practice sessions, Roberts' crew set up the car in a variety ways for Bayne.
"We're making some small changes so he could feel what is happening, so tomorrow we can tell which one we want to stay with or go to if we need to," he said.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: