Trevor Bayne scores top result for Ford at Michigan

Trevor Bayne carried the banner for Ford Performance on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

Trevor Bayne scores top result for Ford at Michigan
Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford

The driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford finished a season-high fifth in the Pure Michigan 400 — and was the only Fusion to score a top 10.

While the result wasn’t what the Blue Oval was expecting — particularly since Team Penske started on the front row — late-race strategy played into the hands of Bayne and Matt Puccia-led crew.

“That’s what we needed,” said Bayne, who restarted sixth when the race went into over time. “Man, if it stayed green we had another shot like Indy to hold off that 78 (Martin Truex Jr.), but we had a caution at the wrong time.

“I got a great restart and pushed the 42 (Larson, winner) to the lead. I went for it in Turn 3 and it didn’t stick. It got massive loose and ended up fifth. Third and fifth, that’s not a big difference. If I went home thinking I should have gone for it in (Turn) three, I would be kicking my butt. But it’s a great day for our team. We needed this to recover a little bit.”

Prior to Sunday, Bayne had a pair of top-10 finishes. In 2017, he’s been overshadowed by RFR teammate Ricky Stenhouse who is enjoying a breakout season with two wins and his first Playoff berth.

“We’re still not in the Chase yet and we have to keep pushing and making our cars faster and for Ricky’s sake, who is in the Chase,” Stenhouse said. “We have 13 races left with or without the Chase to go make a statement, win races and run well.

“It feels good to be in contention. We still aren’t the fastest race car. We can’t beat them on raw speed, but we can put ourselves close with fuel strategy, tire strategy and trying to be in the mix in the end. And that feels really good from what we’re used to.”

Bayne described his performance on Sunday as refreshing. That’s understandable. It’s been a rough stretch for the 26-year-old driver who hasn’t won a race since 2011. In three of the last 10 races entering MIS, Bayne found himself on the sidelines after being caught in mishaps. Although Bayne is locked into the No. 6 Ford for next season, the team is still seeking sponsorship for 2018.

“We’ve had a tough couple of months not getting the results we thought that we deserved,” Bayne said. “Today, to get a result feels really good. We had fast car early on. We had fuel strategy at the end. Probably gonna have a shot to beat the 78 if it stayed green. Got a caution and I was like, ‘Oh man, here goes Indy again.’

“I wouldn’t have slept good at night if I didn’t stuff it in there and try something. It just didn’t stick. Still, it feels really good for our team.”

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