Trevor Bayne battled a tight-handling No. 6 Performance Plus Ford Fusion throughout Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, ultimately driving to a 20th-place finish.
“Our Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford would start out really fast,” said Bayne. “But over the course of a run the handling would become more and more tight and we had a hard time getting through traffic. We were able to make gains throughout the course of the race and we were gaining on a few more cars when we just ran out of laps their at the end. We’ll take what we learned here shift our focus to Indy next week.”
After taking the green flag from the 27th position based on Friday’s knockout qualifying session, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion quickly moved to 24th by Lap 22. However, with the handling of the Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford shifting toward the tight side over the course of the run, Bayne fell back to 28th before the competition caution was called on Lap 35.
Crew chief Matt Puccia chose to bring Bayne to pit road during a caution just prior to the end of Stage 1 in the hopes of gaining track position at the completion of the stage. As a result, Bayne finished Stage 1 in 29th but improved 10 positions to 19th for the beginning of Stage 2 after several of the leaders came to pit road in between stages. The Roush Fenway Racing driving maintained his track position until a round of green flag pit stops began on Lap 218. Once the field cycled through, Bayne was running 18th by Lap 251.
After pitting under caution on Lap 262, Bayne returned to the track in the 17th position when green flag racing resumed. The tight handling condition persisted, shuffling the driver of the Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford back to the 21st position with only 16 laps remaining.
In the closing laps, Bayne fought back into the top 20 to take the checkered flag in the 20th position.