By Toby Christie, NASCAR Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas — Trevor Bayne comes into this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway 15th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point standings. It has been a great start to the season for the 26-year old Roush Fenway Racing driver. However, if Bayne is going to get his fifth top-15 finish of 2017 on Sunday, he will have to overcome a lot of adversity.
In Saturday’s final practice session, Bayne, who was 10th fastest in the session, just pushed the envelope a little too far trying to find more speed at the reconfigured 1.5-mile speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I wrecked the fastest race car I have ever had,” Bayne agonized. “I got loose into one and touched the gray there and if you get out of the groove by a centimeter it is gone. It is unfortunate. I know that, I just stepped over the edge. We had a super fast race car. I am hoping our backup can get there.”
Bayne joins a who’s, who list of guys who have had issues on this re-profiled TMS track. Denny Hamlin spun his No. 11 Toyota in the first practice session on Friday, but didn’t hit anything. Hamlin’s teammate Kyle Busch did the same in that session, but Busch slammed the outside wall with his No. 18 Toyota. His team had to work the rest of Friday afternoon to get their car repaired for Sunday’s race.
Chase Elliott and Erik Jones crossed the edge as well in first practice, but they weren’t as lucky as Busch and Hamlin. Both young drivers slammed the wall hard, and had to pull out backup race cars much like Bayne did on Saturday. After the reality of the situation set in for Bayne, he couldn’t help but second guess himself even after so many talented drivers suffered the same exact fate.
“That was the fastest car I ever had and I wrecked it. I am really mad at myself,” Bayne said. “We have seen a lot of really good guys wreck this weekend so I can’t really beat myself up that much. I was just trying to get it all.”
By crashing his primary car, Bayne will relinquish his 12th-place starting position and go to the rear for Sunday’s race.
Kasey Kahne also slapped the wall in his No. 5 Chevrolet in the waning minutes of final practice. The damage was severe enough that his Hendrick Motorsports team has opted to go to a backup car. Kahne will join Bayne at the rear of the field to start Sunday’s race.