Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion, finished 21st in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
“We just kept getting tighter throughout the day,” said Bayne after the race. “We made adjustments all day long but our Ford Fusion was still tight on the exit of the corners. But I want to thank my guys on this team for their effort this weekend. We’ll regroup and get after it next week in Jack’s (Roush) backyard in Michigan.”
Bayne took the green flag for the 160-Lap event from the 22nd position after advancing to the second round of knockout qualifying on Friday evening. A wide variety of pit strategy dominated Stage 1 as several teams chose to hit pit road as soon as the fuel window opened in the hopes of making it to the end of the stage. Opting to stay out for as long as possible, Bayne got up to as high as the second position before pitting under green on Lap 23 for four tires and a chassis adjustment. The Roush Fenway Racing driver returned to the track in 28th but drove up to 23rd by the completion of the stage on Lap 50.
Stage 2 began with the Knoxville, Tenn. native fighting a tight-handling condition on the exit of all three of Pocono’s unique corners. Despite the handling condition, Bayne improved six positions to 18th before coming to pit road during another round of green flag pit stops on Lap 68. After returning to the track in 26th, the Roush Fenway driver raced up to 17th before the caution came out with just five laps remaining in the second stage. Crew chief Matt Puccia decided to take this opportunity to call Bayne to pit road before the end of the stage for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of gaining track position.
The strategy call paid off as Bayne took the green flag for the final stage in the eighth position as several of the race leaders had to pit at the end of Stage 2. Despite restarting in the top 10, the tight-handling condition returned for Bayne and shuffled the Roush Fenway driver back 14th before another round of green flag pit stops occurred on Lap 124. Bayne returned to the track in 22nd following the pit stop as a number of the race leaders used various pit strategies once again during the long green flag run.
Bayne maintained his track position until a caution with 20 laps remaining provided another opportunity to adjust the Ford EcoBoost Ford. Bayne took the ensuing restart from 18th but immediately reported to Puccia that he was again very tight on the exit of the corner. This tight-handling condition ultimately shuffled Bayne back in the closing laps, and in the end, Bayne took the checkered flag in the 21st position.