Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, battled both Mother Nature and the ever changing track conditions to earn a hard fought 19th-place finish Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“The beginning of the race we were decent,” said Bayne after the race. “It was just track position and all the cautions, and that was the biggest thing was track position at the beginning of the race, and in the middle of the race we freed up the car a lot and then about that time we had a long green flag run and the track took rubber and it loosened up even more, so we were just way too loose for the middle 100 laps – and then we got it tightened back up at the end and we could start making ground. Overall, I thought we executed pretty well for this being our first time working together at a real race track.”
Bayne took the green flag for the 500-Mile event from the 29th position and was able to steadily work forward in the early stages, making his way into the 24th position just after the Lap 25 competition caution. Despite the gains in track position early, the handling of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion began to change as the track began to take on rubber, as it shifted from a tight handling condition to loose on the exit of the corners.
Then, utilizing a Lap 93 caution, crew chief Bob Osborne called Bayne to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of improving the handling of the AdvoCare Ford. Returning to the track in 21st, Bayne was able to work his way into the top 20 for the first time on Lap 101, making a three-wide move to take the 19th position. However, as the green flag run progressed, the handling again began to turn to the loose side, ultimately shuffling Bayne back to the 24th position and down a lap to the race leaders.
The Roush Fenway Racing team continued to make gains on the handling throughout the middle portion of the 325-Lap race, but track position was difficult to find as Bayne battled for the Lucky Dog position.
Then, after narrowly avoiding a multi-car accident with less than 25 laps to go, crew chief Osborne called Bayne back to pit road for fresh tires. Returning to the track in 23rd, the driver of the AdvoCare Ford was able to maneuver his way back into the top 20 and hold off Justin Allgaier to earn a 19th-place finish, his second career top-20 finish at the 1.5-mile oval.