“It felt good to be up front,” said Bayne after the race. “We used some great pit strategy to get into the top 10 and I feel like we had a lot of good speed in the car. I hate that we had that contact that ultimately cut our tire and sent us behind the wall for repairs. We’ll move past this and go for it in Richmond with this AdvoCare Ford.”
Bayne began the famed ‘Southern 500’ from the 18th position after advancing into the second round of qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Running a throwback paint scheme harkening back to 1998, Bayne immediately reported to crew chief Bob Osborne that the AdvoCare Ford was tight exiting the second corner while fighting for position in the top 20.
With the tight handling condition persisting, the Knoxville, Tenn. native would settle in to 23rd and maintain his track position until contact on Lap 164 cut down the left-rear tire of the AdvoCare Ford, forcing Bayne to make an unscheduled pit stop. Despite losing a lap to the race leaders due to the stop, Bayne would not give up and was able to earn his way back onto the lead lap via the free pass when the caution flag flew once again on Lap 197.
After pitting during the same caution period, crew chief Osborne was able to utilize a Lap 206 caution to keep the Roush Fenway Racing driver on the race track in an effort to gain track position. The strategy call paid off as Bayne took the ensuing restart from the fourth position and raced inside the top 10 until a Lap 228 caution provided another opportunity to hit pit road for adjustments.
Bayne returned to the track in 12th following the pit stop and continued to battle for a top-15 position until contact on the right-rear forced Bayne to pit road with a flat-tire. After surveying the damage on pit road, crew chief Osborne made the call to take the car behind the wall for further repairs.
Bayne returned to the track in the closing stages to take the checkered flag in the 35th position.