Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, finished in the 23rd position on Sunday afternoon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) event at Phoenix International Raceway.
“(Crew chief) Matt (Puccia) made great adjustments on the car,” said Bayne after the race. “We just couldn’t catch a break and get a yellow when we needed it to get back on the lead lap. We started out really tight but our car improved throughout the race and I feel like we had a solid top-15 car if we could’ve just caught that break. I want to thank everyone for their hard work today. It’s on to California.”
Bayne took the green flag for the 312-Lap race from the 21st position after advancing to the second round of knockout qualifying on Friday evening. In the early stages of the event, Bayne reported to crew chief Matt Puccia that the AdvoCare Ford was very tight through the center of the corners. In the hopes of improving the handling, Puccia utilized an early caution on Lap 51 to bring Bayne to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment.
The Knoxville, Tenn. native returned to the track in 25th for the ensuing restart on Lap 59 and was able to maintain his track position throughout the green-flag run that followed. However, as the green-flag run progressed, the tight-handling condition worsened and Bayne fell down a lap to the race leaders.
Despite the handling condition persisting, Bayne fought for every position in the hopes of catching an opportune caution to get back on the lead lap. Crew chief Puccia also never gave up and took a big swing at adjustments during a Lap 225 caution that began to improve the handling of the AdvoCare Ford.
In the closing stages the handling of the AdvoCare Ford improved but the one opportune caution continued to elude Bayne, ultimately leading to a 23rd-place finish.
Next up for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, March 20.