Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Ford, had a right front tire go flat as a result of a melted bead that ultimately sent the Roush Fenway Racing driver hard into the outside retaining wall on Lap 228 in Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Phoenix Raceway. The damage ended Bayne’s day prematurely, ultimately resulting in a 38th-place finish.
“I just lost a right front there off of turn four,” said Bayne after the race. ”The bead just got hot and the tire went down. We had a little damage early on when they checked up and knocked the bead fan off, so that cooling wasn’t getting there. The car got really tight for about three laps and we were in our pit window, we were gonna be coming in a couple laps and it just didn’t hang on. It was a really hard hit. That’s probably one of the harder frontal impacts I’ve had, but I feel fine and ready to go next week and end the season strong in Homestead. Thank you to all of my guys for their hard work this weekend and we will get back after it next week.”
Bayne took the green flag for the scheduled 312-Lap event from the 25th position and immediately reported to crew chief Matt Puccia that the Ford EcoBoost Ford was loose on entry and on exit of the corner while tight rolling through the center. To compound the handling woes further, Bayne sustained damage to the right front fender after making contact with another competitor when the field suddenly slowed going into the corner. Despite the handling issues, Bayne fought for track position throughout the caution free opening stage before taking the green and checkered flag on Lap 75 in the 28th position.
After pitting for four tires and repairs to the right front fender the Knoxville, Tenn. native returned to the track for Stage 2 in 34th. After initially reporting that he was tight from the center to the exit of the corner Bayne started to methodically move forward in a stage that was once again dominated by long green flag runs. The 2011 Daytona 500 champion worked his way back into the top 25 by Lap 125 and up to 23rd by the completion of Stage 2 on Lap 150, improving a total of 11 positions throughout the stage.
Prior to the beginning of the final stage Puccia called Bayne back to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of improving the handling of the Ford EcoBoost Ford further. Taking the ensuing restart in 22nd, Bayne maintained his track position until reporting to Puccia that the handling had shifted toward the tight side once again. Then, just as the window had opened for green flag pit stops, the right front tire went flat in the middle of the third and fourth corner, sending Bayne hard into the outside retaining wall.
With the damage too severe to continue, Bayne was ultimately scored with a 38th-place finish.
Next up for the MENCS is the 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 19.