Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, improved 10 positions over the course of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday afternoon to record a 17th-place finish.
“We had a much better AdvoCare Ford than where we ended up,” said Bayne after the race. “I had a lot of fun today. Our car was super fast on the long runs but just needed a little bit more on the short run. We just can’t control all of the circumstances out there and I hate we didn’t get the result we deserved but I am really proud of everyone on this team for their work this weekend. Now it’s time to get ready for some road racing.”
Bayne started the 200-lap event from the 27th position but wasted little time moving forward; improving seven positions before the competition caution for rain early in the morning came out on Lap 25. During the caution crew chief Matt Puccia called Bayne to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment. Bayne returned to the track in 26th following the stop but drove back into the top 20 and up to 18th by the completion of Stage 1 on Lap 60.
Prior to the beginning of Stage 2, the Knoxville, Tenn. native returned to pit road for four tires and another chassis adjustment. Returning to the track in 16th, Bayne raced up to the 13th position before the handling of the AdvoCare Ford shifted toward the tight side. Despite this handling issue, Bayne maintained his track position inside the top 20 for much of the green flag run that dominated Stage 2. After pitting for four tires and adjustments under green on Lap 113, the Roush Fenway Racing driver returned to the track in 19th and remained there for the final seven laps of the stage.
Stage 3 began with a strategy call by Puccia to keep the AdvoCare Ford on the racetrack while a handful of the leaders came to pit road. This decision paid off as Bayne took the ensuing restart on Lap 127 from the 11th position. Unfortunately, the tight-handling condition returned as soon as the final stage went green, ultimately shuffling Bayne back to 20th when the caution came out once again on Lap 149. After pitting for four tires and fuel during the caution Puccia decided to bring Bayne back down pit road with one to go before the restart to top-off on fuel in the hopes of making it to the end.
As a result of the second pit stop Bayne took the Lap 153 restart from 23rd but quickly moved forward, utilizing a four-wide move to race into 18th by Lap 155. Bayne maintained his track position until an incident following a Lap 186 caution damaged the left-rear fender of the AdvoCare Ford, forcing Bayne back to pit road for some repairs.
Although losing track position due to the repairs, Bayne took advantage of two late-race restarts to improve seven positions and take the checkered flag in 17th.