Pit-Road Contact Spoils Top-10 Run for Bayne and CJM Racing (October 10, 2009) Fontana, Calif. -- CJM Racing's weekend at Auto Club Speedway had an encouraging outlook, with the team coming off a Top-15 finish at Kansas and the up-and-coming ...
Pit-Road Contact Spoils Top-10 Run for Bayne and CJM Racing
(October 10, 2009) Fontana, Calif. -- CJM Racing's weekend at Auto Club Speedway had an encouraging outlook, with the team coming off a Top-15 finish at Kansas and the up-and-coming Trevor Bayne returning to the driver's seat of the No. 11 RIDEMARKZ Toyota.
Bayne and the CJM team drew the attention of ESPN2 before the race even started, with the 18-year-old driver getting airtime in a pre-race interview. Bayne qualified the RIDEMAKERZ Toyota in the 11th position and was feeling positive about the car going into the race, despite having never competed on the track before. The young driver, whom ESPN analyst Brad Daugherty labeled a future superstar, drew similar attention at Richmond in September when he drove the No. 11 machine to an impressive 7th-place finish.
Crew chief Paul Wolfe and the CJM Racing crew worked to get the RIDEMAKERZ Toyota ready with the best set-up for the 152-lap, 304-mile race at the Auto Club Speedway, whose seams and banking changes can provide challenges for even the most veteran driver. Bayne took the green flag from his sixth-row starting position, and spent the early laps getting accustomed to the race-time aero demands of the two-mile superspeedway. By the team's first pit stop on Lap 40 during a caution for debris, Bayne was in 19th place.
The crew made some adjustments to help Bayne regain some ground, and the driver was able to move the No. 11 machine back up the field to the 14th position by Lap 60. Another yellow flag for debris on Lap 72 brought the RIDEMAKERZ Toyota back down pit road, where a fast fuel-and-tires service by the CJM crew put Bayne back out in 10th. Unfortunately, the No. 11 car suffered some left-front fender damage when the No. 1 car of David Gilliland made contact with Bayne on pit road during the stop.
Crew chief Paul Wolfe called Bayne back to pit road to repair the fender damage and replace the tires, putting the team down a set of tires to the competition and pushing the car back in the field.
While a fierce battle was playing out at the front of the pack between Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin (substitute driver who replaced Kyle Busch after Busch got out of the car with flu symptoms), Bayne pushed to get back into the Top-10. But the damage was done from the pit-road altercation, and the RIDEMAKERZ Toyota could not make up the lost ground.
Meanwhile, Joey Logano had charged to the front to take the lead and eventually the checkered flag. Bayne pushed to make the most of the remaining laps and crossed the finish line in the 19th position.
"It's a little disappointing to finish back there," said Bayne after the race. "The contact on pit road really did us in. It felt great to run in the Top 10 for a bit there, and I just wish we could've stayed there for another good finish for the RIDEMAKERZ Toyota."