Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, fought a tight-handling condition throughout Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) at Pocono Raceway, ultimately leading to a 20th-place finish.
“We were just really tight at the end,” said Bayne after the race. “As each run got longer the handling would shift more and more toward being tight on the exit of the corners. But I want thank all of my guys for their hard work this weekend. We’ll rebound from this next week in Watkins Glen. We got a top-10 there last year and I’m confident that we can unload another fast AdvoCare Ford when we get there next week.”
Bayne began the day from the 19th position after advancing to the second round of knockout qualifying on Sunday morning. The driver of the AdvoCare Ford maintained his top-20 track position throughout the opening stage, improving to as high as fourth as a variety of pit strategies dominated the early portion of the 160-Lap event. Staying out as long as possible, crew chief Matt Puccia called Bayne to pit road on Lap 23 for four tires and a chassis adjustment. Bayne cycled out to 21st following the stop but drove up to 19th before the completion of Stage 1 on Lap 50.
After returning to pit road between stages for four tires and another round of adjustments, the Knoxville, Tenn. native took the green for Stage 2 from 17th. Two quick cautions to begin the stage helped the driver of the AdvoCare Ford climb forward and into the top 15. Bayne continued to fight for position inside the top 15 until a tight-handling condition on the exit of Pocono’s three distinct corners shuffled the Roush Fenway Racing driver back to 18th following a Lap 74 restart.
Puccia made the call to leave Bayne on the track despite the tight-handling condition while several of the leaders came to pit road in the closing laps of the stage. As a result, Bayne took the green and checkered flag to end Stage 2 in the eighth position, earning valuable bonus points in the process.
Bayne hit pit road once again at the completion of the stage for another round of adjustments. However, a speeding penalty forced the 2011 Daytona 500 champion to fall to the rear of the field just prior to the beginning of Stage 3. Despite the loss of track position Bayne pressed forward, driving back up to 22nd before another round of green flag pit stops began and ultimately up to 13th before having to return to pit road on Lap 133.
When the final green flag pit stops concluded Bayne cycled out in the 21st position and reported that the AdvoCare Ford was the tightest it had been. Even though the tight-handling condition returned, Bayne continued to fight and took the checkered flag in the 20th position.
Next up for the MENCS is Watkins Glen International on Sunday, Aug. 6.