Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford Fusion, fought for grip throughout much of Saturday evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) 400-Lap event at Richmond Raceway, ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 25th position.
“We just didn’t get the handling we needed tonight,” said Bayne after the race. ”But there are 10 races left this season for us to go out and show everyone what we are made of and contend for wins. My guys on this Performance Plus team never give up and we will continue to fight for the rest of the year to get the best results possible.”
Bayne took the green flag for the regular season finale from the 18th position after advancing to the second round of qualifying on Friday afternoon. For much of the first stage the Roush Fenway Racing driver battled a Ford that was loose on entry and exit of the corner and tight rolling through the center. As a result of the handling issues, Bayne was shuffled outside of the top 20 and back to 25th by the completion of Stage 1 on Lap 100.
A speeding penalty on pit road prior to the beginning of Stage 2 forced Bayne to restart from the tail end of the field when the race went back green on Lap 109. After quickly improving three positions following the restart, the handling again began to fade away on the Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford as Bayne reported to crew chief Matt Puccia that he needed more rear grip to make it through the corner. This handling condition ultimately cost Bayne a lap to the race leaders.
The need for grip persisted throughout the final stage as Bayne continued to fight for track position. A long green flag run of over 130 laps allowed the 2011 Daytona 500 Champion to steadily move back up the leader board, improving to the 25th position. The Knoxville, Tenn. native maintained his track position through a green-white-checkered restart to record a 25th-place finish.
Next up for the MENCS is Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 17.