Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford Fusion, rebounded after having to go to a backup car following an incident in final practice on Saturday to earn a 13th-place finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. The result is Bayne’s fifth top-15 finish in the first seven races of 2017.
“I am so proud of the effort of my guys on this Performance Plus team,” said Bayne after the race. “To get another top-15 finish out of a backup car that we were able to actually get unloaded, and practice laps on during a 50-minute session, is just a testament to the dedication of this team. I’m really happy we were able to come away from here with another consistent finish. We will take this into the off-weekend and get after it again at home in Bristol.”
Bayne had to drop to the rear of the field to start the 334-Lap event, per the NASCAR rulebook, after an incident during Saturday’s final practice session forced the Performance Plus Motor Oil team to unload the backup car. When the race went green, Bayne wasted little time moving forward, improving nine positions in the opening two laps to 29th before the caution came out for the first time on Lap 3. The Roush Fenway Racing driver continued to push forward throughout the opening stage, ultimately taking the green and checkered flag in the 26th position despite battling a tight-handling condition through the corner.
The Performance Plus Motor Oil crew gained Bayne six positions on pit road in-between stages, sending the Knoxville, Tenn. native out for the beginning of Stage 2 in 20th. Bayne continued to climb the leaderboard during the second stage, racing up to as high as 15th before the persistent tight-handling condition shuffled Bayne back to 18th. A caution just seven laps shy of the end of Stage 2 allowed crew chief Matt Pucca to bring the Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford back to pit road for four tires and more adjustments. Bayne returned to the track in 19th and drove his way up to the 17th position coming to the line to complete Stage 2.
Crew chief Puccia made the call to leave Bayne on the racetrack to begin the final stage in the hopes of gaining track position. This strategy call paid off as Bayne took the green in the 10th position. After initially getting shuffled back, Bayne settled into 15th for much of the long green flag run that followed and maintained his position in the top 15 until a Lap 299 caution period.
After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment during the caution, Bayne returned to the track in 14th and utilized a Lap 304 restart to drive up to 12th. Bayne remained in 12th until the tight-handling condition once again returned in the closing laps.
In the end, Bayne would hold off Roush Fenway teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to take the checkered flag in the 13th position. The result is Bayne’s fifth top-15 finish in the first seven races of 2017 and moves the Performance Plus Motor Oil driver up to 12th in the championship standings.