Sunday, May 31, 2015

CUP: Bayne’s Crash Leaves #6 With First Cup Series Last-Place Finish Since 2004

SOURCE: Nick Wass, AP Photo
Trevor Bayne picked up the 4th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday's FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at the Dover International Speedway when his #6 AdvoCare Ford finished under power, but 184 laps down, having completed 221 of the race’s 405 circuits.

The finish was Bayne’s first of the season and his first in a Cup race since last summer at Indianapolis, 29 races ago.  The finish occurred in Bayne’s 71st series start.

2014 marked Bayne’s fifth and final part-time season driving for the Wood Brothers, the team which he carried to an upset win in just his second career start during the 2011 Daytona 500.  It also marked his first attempt to bring Roush-Fenway’s #6 back into the Cup Series for the first time in two seasons.  Having at last secured a full-time Cup ride for 2015, Bayne brought his XFINITY Series sponsor AdvoCare to Charlotte last October to make the field for the Bank of America 500.  Unfortunately, a different kind of upset occurred that weekend when Bayne missed the show by just over two-tenths of a second.

This year, Bayne has continued to struggle in what has been a difficult season for the entire Roush-Fenway organization.  Coming into Dover, Bayne sat just 29th in points, having finished no better than a pair of 18th-place finishes at Martinsville and Texas.  At Talladega earlier this month, Bayne was running with the leaders when his car broke loose off Turn 2, triggering a multi-car wreck that left him 41st with his first DNF of the season.  With the season one-third of the way in the books, Bayne looked to Dover for a fresh start.

At The Monster Mile, Bayne ran 33rd-fastest in the opening practice session and qualified 31st at an average speed of 157.123 mph.  He then ran 34th in Saturday’s first practice before improving to 24th in Happy Hour.

Starting last in Sunday’s race was brand new dad Landon Cassill, whose wife Katie gave birth to their first son Beckham on Wednesday.  Cassill’s #40 CRC Brakleen Chevrolet held the spot only until Lap 2, when Mike Bliss took it in his #32 Ford.  Bliss, who rebounded from his DNQ in the Coca-Cola 600 to start 42nd, was then passed on Lap 3 by the unsponsored #62 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet of Brendan Gaughan, who on Lap 14 became the first driver to lose a lap.  Bliss retook 43rd by Lap 39, when he was the first to lose a second lap, and he held the spot for most of the race’s first half.  Bliss struggled to keep pace with the rest of the field, and at one point was nudged up the track by eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson.

The first accident of the day occurred on Lap 163 when Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.’s #17 Ford EcoBoost Ford tagged the outside wall in Turn 1 due to a possible cut right-front tire.  Stenhouse slipped beneath David Gilliland, whose #38 The Pete Store Ford was 6 laps down in 42nd, then took last on Lap 168.  Stenhouse returned to the track just short of halfway 28 laps down and was still running there when a decisive accident occurred on Lap 175.

Heading down the frontstretch, Bayne’s lapped machine was bumped into a spin by the #46 Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet of Michael Annett.  Bayne slammed head-on into the inside wall while Annett hooked back to the right, collecting his teammate Justin Allgaier, last week’s last-place finisher.  Allgaier took last from Stenhouse, Jr. on Lap 201 with Bayne back to 42nd, both having completed the same number of laps.

Allgaier’s crew this time managed to make repairs before the end of the race and returned to the track on Lap 264, 90 circuits behind.  The HScott team’s efforts allowed Allgaier to pass Bayne for last after one lap, and the #6 would stay there the rest of the afternoon.  Bayne’s crew also managed to get his car back on the track with a new nose piece on Lap 355, 184 circuits behind.  Allgaier and Annett also finished under power in 42nd and 41st, respectively.

Finishing 40th was Josh Wise, whose #98 Ford was officially listed as a Premium Motorsports entry for the first time this season.  Premium entered into an association with Phil Parsons Racing as early as Talladega at the beginning of this month, when the logos on Wise’s #98 changed from Phoenix Construction, a Parsons Sponsor, to Premium’s Royal Teak Collection.  Last week at Charlotte, the font on Wise’s car number was changed twice, replacing the bold red numbers the team has carried since Mike Curb joined the program in 2012.

39th went to Matt Kenseth, who qualified 4th in his #20 Dollar General Toyota and was running inside the Top 10 for most of the race before a broken shock forced an unscheduled stop late in the race, dropping him to 21st, two laps down.  Kenseth felt a persistent vibration on the next run, and he made another stop where the crew lifted the hood.  Inside the final 30 laps, Kenseth’s crew pushed the #20 behind the wall, done for the afternoon with suspension issues.  Kenseth slipped from 7th to 11th in the standings, though his win at Bristol still all but guarantees him a spot in the Chase.

*This is the first last-place finish for the #6 in a Cup Series race since February 15, 2004, when Mark Martin’s #6 Viagra Ford lost an engine after 7 laps of the Daytona 500.  It is the first last-place run for the number in a Cup race at Dover since May 19, 1985 when Eddie Bierschwale picked up the first last-place finish of his career in the Budweiser 500 after his #6 U.S. Racing Chevrolet lost the engine after 73 laps.
*This was Bayne’s first last-place finish in a Cup race at Dover.

43) #6-Trevor Bayne / 221 laps / running
42) #51-Justin Allgaier / 310 laps / running
41) #46-Michael Annett / 317 laps / running
40) #98-Josh Wise / 346 laps / electrical
39) #20-Matt Kenseth / 372 laps / suspension

1st) Landon Cassill (3)
2nd) Alex Bowman (2)
3rd) Justin Allgaier, A.J. Allmendinger, Trevor Bayne, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Gase, Sam Hornish, Jr., Brian Scott, J.J. Yeley (1)

1st) Hillman Smith Motorsports (3)
2nd) Tommy Baldwin Racing (2)
3rd) BK Racing, Go FAS Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, HScott Motorsports, JTG-Daugherty Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing / Circle Sport, Roush-Fenway Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (9)
2nd) Ford (3)
3rd) Toyota (1)

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