Trevor Bayne got his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford by the No. 60 Ford of teammate Carl Edwards on a late-race restart in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday to claim his first series win in his 77th-career start.
“I had a good feeling going into this week,” Bayne said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
I thought the car was good, I just didn’t think we’d have time.
Denny Hamlin, filling in for the suspended Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, also passed Edwards in the closing laps to finish second. Edwards wound up third.
Bayne’s win clinched the manufacturer’s championship for Ford. Throughout much of the race, it looked as if a Ford would drive into victory lane following the event to give Ford the title, but that win was expected to come from Edwards.
“We got a little behind at the beginning there,” No. 16 crew chief Chad Norris said. “But we worked on it and worked on it.”
Edwards dominated, leading 157 laps of the 200-lap race. He claimed the lead for the first time on lap 22, and remained up front for much of the race, with the exception of cycles of green flag pit stops and under caution when pit strategies put other drivers in the top spot for short periods of time.
Clint Bowyer, in the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, ran second to Edwards for much of the race and finished fourth.
The fifth and final caution of the race came out with 15 laps to go when the No. 38 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet of Jason Leffler hit the wall. Edwards restarted in the top-spot, but Bayne quickly made his way to the front to battle his RFR teammate for the lead.
“I thought the car was good, I just didn’t think we’d have time,” Bayne said.
The two raced side-by-side at the front until Bayne was able to clear Edwards with six laps to go. He remained up front until the checkered flag. Those six final laps were the only laps of the race Bayne was credited with leading.
“Those guys, in the end, were so fast on the short run,” Edwards said of the No. 16.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford and the RFR driver with the series points lead, fell back through the field late and looked to be in danger of losing points as second-place Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet ran in the top-five much of the race.
On the final restart, though, Sadler slid back through the field to wind up with a ninth-place finish, and Stenhouse made his way up to sixth. As a result, Stenhouse added a couple of points to his lead, making it 17 points heading into the final two races of the season.
“We just got real loose on that last set of tires,” Sadler said.
Brad Keselowski finished fifth in the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge.