Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, improved 16 positions throughout Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Richmond International Raceway to record a 13th-place finish. The result is Bayne’s seventh top-15 finish in the first nine races of the 2017 season.
“This was a hard-fought 13th,” said Bayne after the race. “We were really tight all race long rolling through the center but I am extremely proud of everyone on this AdvoCare team. We never gave up all race long and got ourselves another top-15 finish. We’ll take it. It’s nice being this consistent every week. We’ll keep building on this and get after it again next week in Talladega.”
Bayne began the afternoon from the 29th position and fought a tight-handling AdvoCare Ford for much of the first stage. A timely caution on Lap 65 gave crew chief Matt Puccia an opportunity to bring Bayne to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment. Returning to the track in 24th, Bayne improved seven positions in the final laps of the stage to end Stage 1 in 17th.
Bayne took the green flag for Stage 2 from the 17th position and immediately reported to crew chief Puccia that the AdvoCare Ford was once again tight through the center of the corner and needed more forward drive on exit. With the handling issues not to his liking, Bayne was shuffled back outside the top 20 in a stage that went caution-free. Bayne ultimately took the green and checkered flag in the 22nd position.
The Knoxville, Tenn. native started the final stage from 22nd but drove up to 19th despite again struggling with a tight-handling condition before the first round of green flag pit stops began on Lap 319. After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment, Bayne returned to the track in 16th and maintained his track position until the caution came out once again on Lap 342.
Bayne took the ensuing green flag from the 15th position and utilized a rash of late-race cautions to move up to 13th before the final caution came out on Lap 376. Crew chief Puccia took advantage of this caution to bring Bayne back to pit road for the final set of sticker tires. The driver of the AdvoCare Ford returned to the track in 14th but was shuffled back to 17th after getting forced four-wide following a Lap 381 restart.
In the final laps, Bayne would charge forward and improve four positions to take the checkered flag in 13th. The result is Bayne’s seventh top-15 finish in the first nine races of 2017 and gives the driver of the AdvoCare Ford an average finish of 14.1, ranking him ninth best among series regulars.