It’s been no secret that the two Fords of Roush-Fenway Racing have been struggling this year. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has wheeled the No. 17 to two top-5 and three top-10 finishes while the No. 6 has had its best finish of only 13th that coming at the second Pocono race with Matt Kenseth behind the wheel.
Saturday night Trevor Bayne became the unlikely hero for the team.
Bayne started 23rd and surprised many by appearing inside the top 10 near the halfway point. During a round of pit stops however the team was dealt a blow when they were penalized for speeding. He restarted 17th and fought his way forward in the second half of the race.
He was seventh on a restart with 13 laps to go. But restarting on the inside Bayne was shuffled back in the final laps of chaos. He settled for 11th, the team’s best finish of the season. Stenhouse with a heavily damage Ford finished 24th, five laps down.
“Jack asked me in the driver’s meeting how my car was and I told him it was a 10th to 15th-place car and if we could get it to turn we’d be better than that,” Bayne said. “Early in the race it turned and we drove up into the top-10 and were running about eighth. I had the speeding penalty and kind of overcame that and got back up to seventh or eighth and then that last restart it was all about what lane you were going be in.
“We were going be in the top, but Jimmie pitted and I was like, ‘Oh, man.’ So I started on the bottom and cost us a few spots and ended up 11th, but it’s a good finish for our guys. Every weekend when I leave the track I just kind of look and say, ‘Did I do everything I could do to get every position,’ whether that was 23rd or 11th, so I felt like I did a good job tonight. I wish I wouldn’t have sped on pit road. I wish I wouldn’t have let the 4 get by me at the end, but I shouldn’t have tried to cross Jimmie over and just got greedy and it cost me a spot. But, all in all, it was a good day and we’ll keep fighting.”