“I’m proud of everyone’s effort today,” said Bayne after the race. “We were able to not get down after having that flat left-rear tire and spinning out early on and were able to get some of those breaks with the caution throughout the course of the race. I just want to thank (crew chief) Bob (Osborne) and everyone on this AdvoCare Ford team for not giving up today. We raced hard and were able to keep all four wheels clean. We’re excited for the off-weekend coming up but I’m already focusing on Texas.”
Bayne began the 500-lap event from the 36th position, but was able to work his way up to 33rd before contact on Lap 9 flattened the left-rear tire of the AdvoCare Ford, sending it for a spin in Turn 2. Coming to pit road for repairs, Bayne would return to the track in the 43rd position as the field went back to green on Lap 16.
Despite the early setback, the Knoxville, Tenn. native began to maneuver his way back toward the front, working his way up to 29th with the help of some pit strategy following a Lap 21 caution. Bayne would then crack the top-25 for the first time just shy of the 100-lap mark and would maintain that track position until he was able to move into the top 20 following a Lap 171 restart.
Crew chief Bob Osborne would again use pit strategy to help Bayne move forward, keeping him on the track during a Lap 206 caution period, improving the driver of the AdvoCare Ford up to the fifth position for the ensuing restart. Bayne would maintain his position inside the top 10 for a handful of laps before getting shuffled out of the groove by one of the cars with fresher tires.
Although now back outside of the top 20, Bayne never gave up and continued to work with crew chief Osborne to improve the handling of the AdvoCare Ford. In the closing stages, Bayne was able to overcome several near misses and damage to the nose of his Ford to beat Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle to the checkered flag, earning an 18th-place finish.
With the result, Bayne ranks 26th in the championship standings and trails 16th-place Danica Patrick by 36 points as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway on April 11.