Trevor Bayne Drives To Victory in USARacing Pro Cup Series Opener 18-Year-Old Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Racer Tops Field at Concord Speedway Concord, NC (April 6, 2009) -- Just a few short months ago, the USARacing Pro Cup Series, formerly Hooters...
Trevor Bayne Drives To Victory in USARacing Pro Cup Series Opener
18-Year-Old Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Racer Tops Field at Concord Speedway
Concord, NC (April 6, 2009) -- Just a few short months ago, the USARacing Pro Cup Series, formerly Hooters Pro Cup, wasn't quite sure if they were going to race during the 2009 season. Just a week ago, Trevor Bayne wasn't planning on racing in the season opener, which was scheduled to take place at Concord Speedway (NC) on Saturday, April 4th. However, Bayne and his Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevy team dusted off the #29 Pro Cup car. The team made their way to Concord and, in the process, took the first victory of the newly-revamped series.
"I really have to thank these guys for getting this car ready," said Bayne. "We decided Monday to get this car out of retirement and come here. It was late notice, but everyone jumped in and helped get everything together. I have to thank Chevrolet, Automotive Specialists and Bill Hess. They all helped me a lot."
After getting the car prepared at the shop, Bayne and his crew headed to the Concord, North Carolina, track for practice prior to the event. Timing in fifth, Bayne took the green flag and started going the wrong direction. The handling of his car wasn't quite to his liking early.
"Our car wasn't the best one on the racetrack at the beginning," said Bayne. "We had about a seventh- or eighth-place car, but we kept dialing it in. We took fuel and got it even with the tires. We kept freeing it up, and at the end we had one of the best cars on the track."
After a few of the early race leaders had problems on the track, Bayne pressed forward, making his presence known in the top three. Using patience, he worked his way to second, then to the lead with 40 laps to go in the 250-lap event.
"I think Clay Rogers had the car to beat all night," explained Bayne. "Unfortunately, he went laps down and was out of contention for the race win after getting together with another car.
"I worked on the #22 (Derek Kale) for a long time there at the end. In turn one he checked up and I barely touched him. I got under him and got by. On the final restart I was able to get by the #56 (Brandon Ward) because he was so free up off (the turns) on the restarts. I had planned to check out with him and work on him, but he got loose and we were able to get under him."
During the remaining 40 laps, Bayne pulled out to a healthy lead, which allowed him to pick his way carefully around lapped traffic, which was tight at times. On the last lap, Bayne almost thought about going three wide as he did earlier in the run, but his spotter kept him at bay, allowing him to cross the finish line safely as the winner of the event.
"We had a cluster on the last lap. My spotter told me to just ride because I had a good lead. I probably would have gone three wide again. There was a lot of threading the needle out there. That is the cool thing about this race track is that you can really move around to get by people. I feel like for the most part we had a clean race and everyone gave me room. I really appreciate that."
After celebrating his win with the team, Bayne realized he is the current points' leader in the newly-reformed USARacing Pro Cup Series, but despite being at the top of the charts he is looking towards other opportunities, as the youngster looks to move up in the sport.
"It would be sad to think that we are leading the points and can't go to the next one, but as of right now I don't know where we stand. We are looking at some other opportunities, maybe with ARCA or Nationwide stuff. I would really like to take that next step and race on the bigger tracks. Being 18 (years old), I feel it is time to start moving up. However, this is a great place to race, and if I have any off weekends, I would love to race this series again this year."