2013 Daytona 500: Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers looking to recapture Daytona magic

Chris Graythen

A Daytona 500 victory is always special, but for Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers a win this year would be particularly meaningful.

While all the attention may have been focused on Danica Patrick and Jeff Gordon last Sunday as they secured the front row for the Daytona 500, there was another driver who was just as happy with how Pole Day unfolded.

Even though he won this race two years ago, Trevor Bayne entered Speedweeks knowing that he didn't have a starting spot secured in this year's race.

But after posting the third-fastest time in qualifying, the pressure is now off, as Bayne is ensured of starting Sunday's race, no matter what happens in Thursday's Gatorade Duels.

"The Wood Brothers know how to do it, that is for sure," Bayne said in a team statement. "That is what is so cool about qualifying here. It shows all the hard work that they put into these cars. Once you get in the race and get beat up a little bit, it doesn't matter quite as much, but qualifying shows all the hard work they put into it."

Besides the obvious reasons, being in the 500 has special meaning this year to both Bayne and his Wood Brothers Racing team.

Last month Leonard Wood, who along with his brother Glen founded the team in 1950, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

But that's not the only honor the Wood family is celebrating this week.

Fifty years ago the team won its first of five Daytona 500s, as Tiny Lund drove a Wood Brothers Ford Galaxie in the 1963 edition of "The Great American Race."

Yet it's not just that the team won its first 500, it's what happened in the days leading up to the race that made the win so poignant.

The team's original driver, Marvin Panch, had been injured just 10 days before, testing a sports car on the high-banks of Daytona. One of the first responders on the scene was Lund, who was largely responsible for pulling Panch from the fiery wreck.

Needing a driver, the Wood brothers fittingly tabbed Lund to fill Panch's seat, and in a storybook ending Lund scored the emotional victory.

As a way to commemorate the moment, the team is running the same paint scheme this week on Bayne's No. 21 Ford that adorned Lund's No. 21 Ford 50 years ago. Which is why Bayne's quick time in qualifying was so important, because for the team not to be competing in this year's 500 would have been heartbreaking for all involved.

"It's important to the current team members to have a strong Speedweeks this year," co-owner Eddie Wood said. "It's a tribute to Leonard being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and to Tiny Lund and Marvin Panch."

Thanks to Bayne's effort in time trials, that point is now moot.

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