Bayne Back at Texas

Trevor Bayne

“We’ve been steadily climbing up the points ladder. I’ve had fast cars and that’s starting to pay off.”

Like many NASCAR Nationwide Series venues, Texas Motor Speedway’s list of race winners is topped by Kyle Busch. He has six victories on the Fort Worth oval, including a run of five straight some years ago.

But as teams head to “The Lone Star State” for Friday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, recent history has shown some new faces in the Winner’s Circle – including Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne.

In fact, the 1.5-mile TMS oval has given us six different winners in the last six Nationwide Series races. Of course, Busch has one of those … as does Bayne, who claimed his first career win in the track’s 2011 fall race.

Bayne is eager for this week’s return to Texas and he’ll arrive as the co-leader in the point standings, sharing the top spot with Regan Smith through the first five races of the 2014 season.

“We’ve been steadily climbing up the points ladder,” said Bayne, coming off a ninth-place finish in his last start March 22 at Auto Club Speedway. “I’ve had fast cars and that’s starting to pay off.”

Bayne and Smith have been running one-two in points since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, where Smith’s victory gave him a six-point lead. Since then, Bayne has steadily whittled his deficit down … to five points, then three and then one … before pulling into a tie 12 days ago in Fontana, Calif.

“Knock on wood … we haven’t had anything fall off the car and break this year,” Bayne said, noting his team’s early-season consistency. “When you can eliminate those kinds of things, that’s what pays off with a championship in the long run.”

Bayne and Smith are the only Nationwide Series regulars who’ve finished 10th or better in each of the season’s first five races. But Bayne says his No. 6 RFR team is not resting on its laurels.

“We’re definitely not satisfied with eighth-place finishes,” he said. “We want to contend for wins and with that comes a little more risk. You have to try new things. You have to push the cars to the limit as a driver. We’re willing to take those risks so we can battle for wins.”

In addition to the tight Nationwide Series points battle with Smith, Bayne has additional motivation for success this weekend. AdvoCare, primary sponsor of his No. 6 Ford, is based in Plano, Texas – about an hour’s drive from the speedway.

Bayne is one of 41 drivers on the entry list in the Nationwide Series, which is coming out of its first off-weekend of the season. And he’ll be busy in the Sprint Cup Series, also, running Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 for the Wood Brothers.

But the focus for Bayne will be the deadlocked Nationwide Series points battle … as it will be for Smith, too. The Junior Motorsports driver says the week off came at a good time.

“It was great to hit the ‘reset button.’ That’s a positive thing,” Smith said. “We’ve been clicking off top 10s since Phoenix, but we all know that isn’t going to be good enough. Now is our time to regroup and refocus. The goal is to get back to running up front and winning races.”

Nationwide Series teams will open practice at Texas Motor Speedway on Thursday and qualify Friday at 4:10 p.m. (ET) to set the field for that night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

Race Center

Lilly Diabetes 250

@ Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Radio Start:
IMS Network
TV Start:
ESPN, 4 p.m. (ET)

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