Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Performance Products Ford Fusion, earned a 10th-place finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night. The result is Bayne’s second top-10 finish and his eighth top-15 finish of the 2017 season.
“That was a hard-fought 10th-place finish,” said Bayne after the race. ”It’s funny how expectations change. A year ago I would have been pumped for a 10th and now it is what we should be doing. We are getting better. Our potential is better. If we can finish 10th on a weekend like this, when we get the cars where we need them we can do business. I appreciate the hard work and execution by my team tonight.”
Bayne took the green flag for the 267-Lap event from the 16th position after advancing to the second round of qualifying on Friday afternoon. The driver of the Roush Performance Products Ford battled a loose-handling condition throughout much of the first stage but maintained his position inside the top-20 during the opening 80 laps. Bayne ultimately took the green-checkered flag to end Stage 1 in 19th.
Bayne began Stage 2 in the 18th position but was forced three-wide and ultimately shuffled outside of the top 20 following the Lap 87 restart. Despite the loss of track position, Bayne continued to fight for position until a Lap 95 caution period gave crew chief Matt Puccia an opportunity to make adjustments to the Roush Performance Products Ford. After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment, Bayne returned to the track in 25th but took advantage of another caution just two laps after the restart to stay on the racetrack while several of the leaders came to pit road. This call to stay out paid off as Bayne took the ensuing restart in 14th. The Roush Fenway driver maintained his position in the top 20 throughout the remainder of Stage 2, taking the green-checkered in 18th.
The final stage started with Bayne continuing to fight a loose-handling condition through the corner. Despite the car not handling to his liking, Bayne drove up to 16th before the caution came out once again on Lap 199, giving crew chief Puccia another chance to make a chassis adjustment to the Roush Performance Products Ford. Another quick caution just 11 laps after the Lap 204 restart gave the Knoxville, Tenn. native an opportunity to gain track position as Bayne chose to stay out on the track while the leaders came to pit road. The call once again paid off as Bayne took the Lap 220 restart from the second position.
Although restarting up front, fresher tires began to prevail as the green-flag run progressed, shuffling Bayne outside of the top 10 and back to 14th before the caution waved again on Lap 243. After pitting for four tires and fuel Bayne returned to the track in 12th and maintained his top-15 track position until the final caution of the evening came out on Lap 262, setting up NASCAR’s version of overtime.
Bayne took the final restart of the evening in 12th and utilized a three-wide move in the closing laps to earn a 10th-place finish. The result is Bayne’s second top-10 and his eight top-15 finish of 2017.