Trevor Bayne Battles Back For Top-10 at New Hampshire; 17-Year-Old Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Development Driver Rebounds With Strong Car at NHMS Concord, NC (September 15, 2008) -- Trevor Bayne is not one to give up on a goal. That's why when the...
Trevor Bayne Battles Back For Top-10 at New Hampshire; 17-Year-Old Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Development Driver Rebounds With Strong Car at NHMS
Concord, NC (September 15, 2008) -- Trevor Bayne is not one to give up on a goal. That's why when the 17-year-old Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Development Driver went from having a winning effort sputter out when the DEI #1 car ran out of fuel late in the Heluva Good 125 NASCAR Camping World Series East event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 13th, Bayne did not give up on his chances to earn a victory at the "Magic Mile."
Bayne relinquished fourth place when his #1 Chevrolet was running on fumes, sending it to pit road under green. With determination and a free pass, Bayne found himself back on the lead lap in the closing circuits, where he fought door-to-door for every position possible before the checkered flag flew with Bayne in the eighth position.
"It could've been a lot worse of a day considering the way we had to come back and forth through the field like that," said Bayne. "Even when we ran out of fuel and had to pit under green, I was still thinking of how we could win this race. You never want to think you want to settle for a top-10 finish. Even in the last 10 laps I was waiting on a green-white-checkered restart to help me get back up there and contend for the win."
Bayne qualified the DEI #1 Chevy in the eighth position for Saturday's event. From the drop of the green flag in the 125-lap event, Bayne was a threat for the victory. He quickly moved to the second spot in the opening laps and took the lead from Marc Davis on lap 28. Bayne began checking out from the field, but eventual winner Eddie MacDonald started flexing his muscle, gaining the lead from Bayne on lap 36. Undeterred, Bayne settled in during a long green-flag run, waiting for his chance to come in for fuel and adjustments that would strengthen his chances at the victory.
Unfortunately for Bayne, however, that opportunity came a few laps too late.
"I knew we could adjust to be the best car here," added Bayne. "At the time, the #71 (MacDonald) was a little bit better. I would be able to get to within a car-length or two from him or to his bumper and my car would get aero-tight. You don't ever hear of that in this East Series, but it's a big thing here at Loudon. My car was on the verge of getting tight anyways. I would get right up to him, and then he would push away by three car-lengths.
"We were running second the whole time. A couple of the guys that had pitted early in the race came back up through and got us, but we were still back in fourth and knew we had a good car. We were just waiting on a caution to come in and take some fuel and make the right adjustments. In this East Series, if you get a 20-lap run, you're doing something. Today we got a 60-lap run. I never would've guessed that. We thought at least lap 40 would be our window to come in and pit, but we went until lap 93 went green. Right before we went green, I said to the guys, 'Alright, next caution, we're coming in, right?'
"We never would've thought we wouldn't get the caution 60 laps later."
While Bayne's luck and fuel tank went dry, his perseverance did not. The good fortune returned as Bayne worked his way back towards the top-10 late in the race.
"We did all we could. We went a lap down getting fuel under green. After that, we came in and got tires, and we were following the 71 all the way up through the field. He won the race, but we were pretty close to passing him. We got the Lucky Dog, started at the rear late in the race and came back to eighth at the end. Things could've been worse, but we got out of here without a scratch on the car. We'll just head into the next two races and see if we can win another one or two before the year's out."
With the top-10 finish, Bayne gained one position in the NASCAR Camping World Series East point standings. Bayne now sits third in the standings, 225 points behind leader Matt Kobyluck with two events remaining.
It will be a quick turnaround for the DEI #1 team, as the NASCAR Camping World Series East heads to Dover International Speedway (DE) on Friday, September 19th, for the Sunoco 150, a track where Bayne will have a new outlook on his efforts.
"I've been looking for revenge for the last four weeks and it hasn't worked, so I don't think I'm going to use that as my strategy anymore. We gave one away at Adirondack when we led the whole race and finished second. Ever since then I've been trying to get back on top. We wrecked the last two races, and today we ran out of fuel. I'm just going to go into the next race at Dover with a clear head and take everything I can get, and hopefully it'll pay off."