Bayne Wins Aaron's 250 Youngster dominates en route to first Hooters Pro Cup win Hickory, N.C. -- How fast was Trevor Bayne? Well, second-place finisher Jay Fogleman summed it up best. "He was so fast, I couldn't even block him when he went...
Bayne Wins Aaron's 250
Youngster dominates en route to first Hooters Pro Cup win
Hickory, N.C. -- How fast was Trevor Bayne? Well, second-place finisher Jay Fogleman summed it up best.
"He was so fast, I couldn't even block him when he went by," said Fogleman. "I don't know if he knew which way he was going to pass me he was so fast."
On Lap 181, Bayne went high, slid around Fogleman and went unchallenged en route to victory in the Aaron's 250 presented by Ingles at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
"I knew if we messed around at the front enough we'd get a win," said Bayne, driver of the No. 29 Chevy Racing/DEI Chevrolet. "Tonight we just had an awesome car. I could pass three-wide anytime I wanted. I was able to pass for the lead on the outside. What more can you ask for out of a car."
Apparently, not too much.
After starting third in the 33-car field, the 16-year-old driver marched to the front of the pack on the 30th lap, passing pole-sitter Caleb Holman with ease.
The only time Bayne had to look in his rear-view in the first 100 laps was when he caught lapped traffic, allowing Mark McFarland and Matt Carter to close within a few car lengths.
But as Bayne cleared traffic, his No. 29 Chevrolet would just chug away from his contenders. He held the lead until coming to pit road on Lap 126, just long enough to pick up five bonus points and $1,000 for being the Lucas Oil Halfway Leader.
After returning to the track, Bayne lined up 10th for a restart on Lap 130. And it didn't take long for him to knife back to the front.
"The team was telling me to ride, but I was ready to get back to the front," said Bayne. "Who doesn't want to lead laps?"
Bayne tracked down Fogleman for the lead on Lap 165. Fogleman, driver of the No. 4 The Works Ford, held onto the lead until Lap 180, mainly because of two quick cautions. But when the green was unfurled, Bayne made his move.
"He was racing me clean, but I couldn't get under him," said Bayne. "So I said, 'Boys, I'm going to pass him on the high side.' I just stuck it up there and went."
Admittedly, Fogleman had nothing for Bayne, but the veteran still had a race on his hands as the laps wound down.
Matt Carter, driver of the No. 26n Travis Carter Motorsports Ford, made a late-race charge through the field and began to put pressure on the veteran. Fogleman never flinched in the final laps and came home with a season-best finish, which seemed like a win after his early-season struggles.
"This is unbelievable," said Fogleman, who finished third at Southern National after failing to post a top-10 finish in the first five races of the season. "I'm finally starting to get mad when we don't qualify up front with a good race car. We really haven't changed anything. We've just got the right people in the right spots now. I'm glad we're peaking at the right time."
Carter held onto third. But the 2003 Hickory Motor Speedway champion wasn't overly happy with his third podium finish of season.
"We have a good car every time we unload, but it seems we have something happen that makes us have to come from the back to the front," said Carter. "I didn't have anything for Trevor, though. I may have been able to get second, but I wasn't racing for points tonight."
Mike Garvey, driver of the No. 17 JaniKing Ford, rallied from losing a car in practice to finish fourth.
Derrick Kelley, driver of the No. 21 Adesa Impact Auto Ford, completed the top five.
With his win, Bayne jumped from 11th to second in the Aaron's Southern Division point standings with just one race remaining. Bayne's point jump was made easier because most of the top-five in points had a rough night.
McFarland, who was second in points, ran at the front for much of the night before retiring with a mechanical failure on Lap 127. Bobby Gill, who was third in points, started from the 33rd spot and was involved in several incidents, dropping him to 26th at the finish. Matt Hawkins, who came in fourth in points, led 12 laps, but the rookie was black-flagged for firing outside of the restart box and later swept into an accident. Hawkins came home 25th.
Even point leader Michael Ritch had a tough night. Ritch, who started fourth, made several unscheduled pit stops and wound up 28th, five laps off the pace. Fortunately, for Ritch, all he has to do to pick up the Southern Division title is start at Bristol.
Brian Scott, Wade Day, Dusty Williams, Gary Helton and Mart Nesbitt completed the top 10.
The Aaron's 250 was slowed 15 times for 88 laps of caution and featured six lead changes among five drivers.
Aaron's 250 Notebook
What's Mine is Yours
Bill Plemons is well-known for his humanitarian efforts. The veteran driver visits hospitals along every stop of the Hooters Pro Cup tour. In the Aaron's 250, Plemons once again showed his selfless side.
After teammate Mike Garvey lost his car in practice, Plemons gave him his car for the race. Garvey drove the re-numbered machine to a fourth-place finish.
"I can't thank Bill and the Hooters team enough for their help," said Garvey, driver of the No. 17 JaniKing Ford. "The way our day started, I'm tickled to death to get out of here with a fourth-place finish."
Sometimes, rookies learn lessons the hard way. Matt Hawkins, driver of the No. 2 H&H Electric Ford, is one such rookie. Hawkins was black-flagged for firing outside the restart box while leading and ended up finishing 25th.
"I just plain screwed up," said Hawkins. "I started before the line. Man, the car was good. I just botched it up. It was my fault."
There is good news for Hawkins, however. He still leads the Southern Division Miller Lite Rookie of the Year standings by 23 of Richard Boswell.
Brian Scott, driver of the No. 01 Scott Racing Ford, got penalized for spinning Mike Garvey, went for a spin himself later and still came back to finish sixth and take home $1,000 for being the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race.
"Our night was the definition of bullring, short-track racing at Hickory Motor Speedway," said Scott. "Everybody is just nose to tail and, if somebody slips, you get into the back of them. I didn't do it on purpose, but I guess it looked like I did. It was a bad luck, good luck kind of night for us. We had bad luck, but we had good luck, too, because we came back to get a sixth-place finish.
Dusty Williams had to do some work to post his season-best, eighth-place finish in the Aaron's 250 at HMS. Williams, driver of the No. 40 Dustcom LTD Ford, drove from 32nd position into the top five late in the race. Even though he slipped in the final laps, Williams picked up the Aaron's "Do The Math" Award for advancing the most positions.
"We did a little pit strategy to put us ahead," said Williams. "It worked great to get us some positions. In hindsight, if we would have done it about 10 or 15 laps later, I would have had some more left at the end. I just used up everything we had. After running fifth, I was little disappointed about dropping to eighth, but I'm excited about our best finish."