Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, earned an 11th-place finish in the rain-postponed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday afternoon. The result is Bayne’s sixth top-15 finish in the first eight races of the 2017 season.
“Today was a solid day,” said Bayne after the race. “We just got tight toward the end but today was another consistent day. I’m really proud of all my guys on this AdvoCare Ford for their work this weekend. We keep improving each week and knocking on that door to turn those top-15s into top-10s. We’ll keep making gains and get after it again next weekend in Richmond.”
Bayne took the green flag for the rain-postponed 500-Lap event from the 12th 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 much of Stage 1, despite battling a tight-handling condition for much of the second half of the stage. Although not handling to his liking, Bayne improved four positions in the closing laps of Stage 1 to take the green-checkered flag on Lap 125 in 15th.
When Stage 2 began Bayne continued to fight for position in the top 15, improving up to 12th before a caution on Lap 214 gave crew chief Matt Puccia an opportunity to improve the handling of the AdvoCare Ford. Returning to the track in 12th, Bayne wasted little time driving into the top 10 and held off a charge from Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to finish Stage 2 in the ninth position.
The Knoxville, Tenn. native started the third and final stage from 10th and immediately reported to crew chief Puccia that the AdvoCare Ford was both loose entering the corner and tight rolling through the middle. This handling condition shuffled Bayne back outside the top 10 before a rash of late-race cautions provided more opportunities for adjustments to be made. After pitting for four tires and an air pressure adjustment during a Lap 461 caution period, Bayne returned to the track in 10th but was forced three-wide on the ensuing restart and fell back to 13th.
In the closing laps, Bayne utilized the outside-line to regain some of the lost track position, taking the checkered flag in the 11th-position. The result is Bayne’s sixth top-15 finish of 2017 and ranks the Roush Fenway driver tied for 12th in the championship standings.
Next up for the MENCS is Richmond International Raceway on Sunday, April 30.