Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, overcame two pit road penalties and improved six positions in the closing laps of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday afternoon to record a 13th-place finish. The result is Bayne’s fourth top-15 finish in six races in 2017.
“This was a good day for us here in Martinsville,” said Bayne after the race. “I’m really happy that we were able to come out of here with another top-15 finish and that we were able to keep our Ford clean for the most part. We’ve had a pretty good start to our season and I’m looking forward to getting to Texas next week and keeping that momentum going.”
Bayne took the green flag for the 500-Lap event from the 16th position after rain on Friday cancelled qualifying, forcing NASCAR to set the field by owner points, per the rulebook. Bayne maintained his top-20 track position throughout the early portion of Stage 1, before a pit road speeding penalty during a Lap 69 caution period sent the Roush Fenway Racing driver to the rear of the field. Despite losing valuable track position, Bayne raced his way back up to 23rd before a caution just eight laps shy of the end of Stage 1 gave the AdvoCare Ford another opportunity to hit pit road.
That pit stop just before the end of Stage 1 gave crew chief Matt Puccia a chance to make a strategy call, choosing to keep Bayne out on the racetrack for Stage 2. This strategy call paid off as Bayne began Stage 2 from the sixth position. The Knoxville, Tenn. native remained in the top 10 throughout the stage, taking the green-checkered flag in ninth on Lap 260.
After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment between stages, Bayne took the green for the final stage from seventh. Bayne continued to fight for position in the top 10 before pitting once again during a Lap 309 caution for four fresh tires. Returning to the track in 14th, Bayne remained in the top 15 until a speeding penalty on pit road during a Lap 391 caution period again sent the AdvoCare Ford to the rear of the field.
Despite losing his track position, Bayne never gave up and utilized a Lap 414 restart to improve six positions to 13th.
In the closing laps, Bayne would hold off a charge from Kasey Kahne to take the checkered flag in the 13th position. The result is Bayne’s fourth top-15 of the 2017 MENCS season and improves the Roush Fenway driver to 15th in the championship standings.