By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
FORT WORTH, Texas – Fate did not play in the hands of Trevor Bayne on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Bayne refused to pit during a sequence of green flag stops, inheriting the lead on lap 260 and throwing a strategic wrench in an otherwise uneventful race to that point. The Roush Fenway Racing driver led 12 laps before the relinquishing the lead to a race-dominant Martin Truex Jr.
Tire wear was at a premium at the 1.5-mile oval, with many teams electing to pit for fresh tires well before the end of a fuel run.
The No. 6 Advocare team elected to go against the grain and go the length of a fuel run, knowing that their tires would be fresher at the end of a run, while others would be struggling.
Moments after losing the lead, Bayne finally pitted, but a caution for debris left him a lap down.
Bad went to worse when Bayne received damage in a colossal wreck on the backstretch on lap 294 that involved 13 cars in all.
Bayne managed to battle back to finish 15th, but the 25-year-old knew that staying out one more lap could have made all the difference.
“We were hoping that debris caution didn’t happen,” said Bayne. “We probably could have had a shot at the win there, I think, if it stayed green. We were done pitting. We were good to the end on gas and those guys were gonna have to come again. We were on fresh tires, so we went for it and it just didn’t work out unfortunately.
“I was really happy with my car today and at times we were the fastest car on the track and that’s all you can ask for, so I’m real happy with that.”
Regardless of the end result, Bayne felt the gamble was the best shot for a win.
“That’s exactly right,” said Bayne. “At that time we had kind of fallen off a little bit. We were a sixth, seventh, eighth-place car. On the long run we could maybe be better than that, but they had a little bit of a head start on us, so going for it like that you’ve got a sure shot at maybe being able to win the race and we at least led some laps. It just didn’t work out, but if it didn’t work out we probably would have still finished in the top 10, but we got in that wreck on the backstretch and finished 15th.
“It’s a gamble we were willing to take.”
Image: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway