Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Performance Products Ford Fusion, overcame an unscheduled green flag pit stop for a flat tire on Lap 65 to record a 19th-place finish in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday afternoon.
“We battled all day,” said Bayne after the race. ”We rallied back after having to make that unscheduled stop under green and never gave up. I want to thank all of my guys on this team for their hard work throughout this entire season. We fought hard and even though tonight’s result wasn’t what we were looking for I am proud of our effort and will be ready to come back stronger in 2018.”
Bayne took the green flag for the 267-lap event from the 12th position after advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying on Friday afternoon. The driver of the Roush Performance Products Ford battled a tight-handling condition for much of the opening stage that ultimately shuffled Bayne back to the 25th position before the first round of green flag pit stops commenced on Lap 37. Bayne returned to the track following the stop in 23rd but was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop under green on Lap 66 after slight contact with the outside retaining wall led to a flat right-rear tire. As a result of the pit stop, Bayne took the green and checkered flag to end Stage 1 in the 33rd position.
Stage 2 began with the Knoxville, Tenn. native continuing to fight a tight-handling condition rolling through the center of the corner. Despite the handling woes, Bayne patiently moved forward throughout the stage, improving six positions over two green flag runs to end the second stage in 27th.
When the final stage went green Bayne radioed to crew chief Matt Puccia that the Roush Performance Products Ford had shifted toward the loose side rolling through the corner. Although now on the loose side, the 2011 Daytona 500 Champion continued to move forward, driving up to 23rd before another round of green flag pit stops began on Lap 200. After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment Bayne returned to the track in 24th and maintained his track position until a caution on Lap 227 provided Puccia another opportunity to bring the Roush Fenway Racing driver to pit road.
Bayne took the ensuing restart from the 25th position and climbed six positions in the closing laps to record a 19th-place finish in the 2017 MENCS season finale.