Pit Strategy Pays Dividends for Bayne, Aaron's Racing Team in Chicago Joliet, Ill. (July 11, 2009) -- A great call by crew chief Jerry Baxter to stay out on the race track during the first caution flag on lap 91 paid off in the form of a ...
Pit Strategy Pays Dividends for Bayne, Aaron's Racing Team in Chicago
Joliet, Ill. (July 11, 2009) -- A great call by crew chief Jerry Baxter to stay out on the race track during the first caution flag on lap 91 paid off in the form of a 12th-place finish for Trevor Bayne in Friday night's Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
This was Bayne's third 12th-place finish in four starts behind the wheel of the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine. The No. 99 team has now grabbed 10 top-15 finishes in just 18 NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season.
In Friday afternoon's qualifying session, Bayne lapped the mile-and-a-half Joliet, Ill. oval in 30.585 seconds (176.557 mph). The lap was good enough for the eighth-place time, lining up the Knoxville, Tenn. driver on the outside of the fourth row for the Dollar General 300.
60,000 fans packed the Chicagoland Speedway grandstands for the 18th race of 2009 NASCAR's No. 2 division. After starting eighth, Bayne made quick work of the competition, rocketing up to sixth just two laps into the 300-mile event. Unfortunately, the forward progress didn't last long.
Lacking overall grip, the 18-year-old fell back to 13th before green-flag pit stops began on lap 52. Three laps later Bayne peeled off the racing surface, under green-flag conditions, for routine service including a fresh set of Goodyear Tires, a full load of fuel and a slight chassis adjustment.
The chassis adjustment didn't seem to help the handling on the No. 99 Toyota, and Bayne lost a lap to the leaders on lap 61 but continued to run in the top 15.
The first caution flag finally flew on lap 91 for debris. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, the call was made to stay on the race track and receive the lucky dog placing the No. 99 machine back on the lead lap. The Aaron's Racing team was listed 12th for the restart on lap 96.
Since the Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota stayed out during the first caution and a second caution had yet to come out, Baxter was forced to call his rookie driver to pit road 25 laps later. Four tires, fuel and a major chassis adjustment was in order, and Bayne returned to the racing surface two laps down in 20th.
Fortunately, the rest of the field was forced to make green-flag pits 25 laps later allowing Bayne to make up one lap on the leaders and jump to the 13th position.
As luck would have it, the second caution flag waved on lap 184 and the call to stay out on lap 91 finally proved beneficial. Baxter summoned his young driver to pit road for another set of tires and fuel and Bayne restarted 13th on lap 191.
The 18-year-old driver was able to pass one car in the final nine laps and crossed the finish line 12th, the first car one lap down.
Joey Logano grabbed his third win of the season followed by Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers, Jason Leffler and Kevin Harvick.
Next weekend the NASCAR Nationwide Series rolls into Madison, Ill., for the division's annual stop at Gateway International Raceway just five minutes from downtown St. Louis.
The Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 will be televised live on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio. Qualifying for the 19th round of the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship will be televised on ESPN2 the same day beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.
"We didn't have the best car tonight but Jerry (Baxter) made a great call to stay out during the first caution and we finished 12th. I can't believe we finished 12th again. I guess we just need to get over this hump. It was great to have Michael (Waltrip) on the radio tonight helping me get better each lap. I am continuing to learn and hopefully we can grab a top 10 soon."