By David Morgan, Associate Editor
LEBANON, Tenn. – Trevor Bayne has been making the most of his stint with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season, posting his best finish yet Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway.
When the green flag flew on the Tennessee Lottery 300, Bayne’s No. 18 Toyota rolled off from third-place and was a fixture in the top-five throughout the first and second stage of the race.
Things weren’t all smooth sailing for Bayne in the latter part of the event, as he had to battle back from issues on pit road to put himself back in contention.
Though he wasn’t able to catch Justin Allgaier for the win, Bayne charged up to second place by the time the race ended, finishing 4.513 in arears of Allgaier.
“We bit ourselves,” Bayne said. “I had to go to the back twice. Going to the rear when the 98 hit our guys on pit road. I went from 15th back to second. That last run, I had to go to the very tail-end when a tire got away. Drove all the way back to second, catching the 7. So, we just beat ourselves on pit road.
“I feel like that’s two or three races we could have or should have won. I don’t say that often or take that lightly. That’s not a hollow claim. I really feel like our car was there. I feel like I was there.
We’ve just got to be perfect if we’re going to win and that’s what the 7 did today. They were good all the way through. He had a great car. Could have been riding at the end some, but we were catching him good. Can’t ask for much more than that. Just need to clean it up on pit road.”
Saturday’s second-place run was Bayne’s third top-five finish and fourth top-10 finish in five starts, with the only blemish on his record this season coming at Atlanta.
Despite not being able to bring home the trophy this weekend, Bayne is still relishing in his second-chance, with the future beyond this season still in doubt.
“I’m just thankful to be here because I’m don’t know how much longer it will last. I’ve got three races left and that’s it. Got to make them count. Got to enjoy them. Got to be frustrated when we don’t win, but still have perspective and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”
With only a short amount of time left behind the wheel this season, Bayne added that he thinks a win is coming for the team, it’s only a matter of when.
“It’s got to be (coming),” Bayne said of his outlook for a win. “I thought it was today. It’s just tough when you don’t do it every week to put the whole program together. But it’s coming. For sure.”
Bayne will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota at New Hampshire in July, as well as Las Vegas and Homestead in October before his slate of scheduled races for the season is wrapped up.