Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, improved three positions in the closing laps of Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Phoenix International Raceway to record a 19th-place finish.
“We fought hard all day,” said Bayne after the race. “Our AdvoCare Ford was just really tight rolling through the center but my guys worked hard on it all race long and we were able to get a decent finish out of today. (Crew chief) Matt (Puccia) made that two-tire call at the end that really helped us pick up a couple of spots. Now it’s on to California where we hope for another solid run.”
Bayne took the green flag for the scheduled 312-Lap event from the 24th position and immediately reported to crew chief Matt Puccia that the AdvoCare Ford was tight from the center to the exit of the corner. This tight-handling condition persisted throughout Stage 1 as Bayne improved three positions to 21st when the green-checkered flag waved on Lap 75.
After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment between stages, Bayne took the green flag for the start of Stage 2 from 17th on Lap 83. The driver of the AdvoCare Ford continued to battle for position inside the top 20 until a caution on Lap 117 gave crew chief Puccia another opportunity to bring Bayne to pit road for adjustments. An issue on during the pit stop shuffled the Roush Fenway Racing driver back to 26th. On the ensuing restart, the tight-handling condition returned, ultimately leading to Bayne taking the green-checkered to end Stage 2 in 28th.
When the race went back to green for the final stage, Bayne continued to fight a tight-handling AdvoCare Ford. Despite the condition, Bayne battled hard for position inside the top 25, moving up to as high as 21st before the final caution of the afternoon came out on Lap 306. During the caution period, crew chief Puccia decided to bring Bayne to pit road for right-side tires only in the hopes of gaining track position.
The strategy call paid off as Bayne survived NASCAR’s overtime to take the checkered flag in the 19th position.