Monday, November 16, 2009

Bayne, Aaron’s Racing Team Take Top-15 Finish at Phoenix

Event/Date: Able Body Labor 200/Nov. 14, 2009

Venue: Phoenix International Raceway – Avondale, Ariz.

Starting Position: 37th

Finishing Position: 15th

Avondale, Ariz. (Nov. 14, 2009) – Trevor Bayne and the No. 99 Aaron’s team overcame a poor qualifying effort to finish 15th in the Able Body Labor 250 at Phoenix International Raceway.

While the end result just missed the mark in terms of expectations, the 15th-place effort earned the Knoxville, Tenn., native his seventh top-15 finish in only 15 starts.

On Saturday morning, Bayne announced he would drive the No. 99 NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota fulltime in 2010 for the newly-formed Diamond-Waltrip Racing.

The good news off the track didn’t transform to good news on the track when Bayne struggled in qualifying and started the 200-lap event 37th. However, the young driver didn’t let the poor qualifying effort discourage him as he picked up nine spots before the first caution flag flew on lap seven.

He hit pit road two laps later for four fresh Goodyears, fuel and a minor chassis adjustment to help with the tight-handling conditions. The 18-year-old driver restarted 33 on lap 12.

Bayne began picking his competitors off one-by-one and by lap 37 he was listed in the 13th spot. His forward progress came to a halt when tight-handling conditions returned to the No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota.

The second caution flag of the day flew on lap 77 for debris. Veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter summoned his driver to pit road for another round of adjustments to hopefully cure the tight-handling conditions. A solid pit stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed Bayne to restart 10th on lap 83.

The rookie driver worked his way up to the ninth before the tight-handling conditions returned. Over the final 100 laps Bayne raced in and around the top 15. The young phenom crossed the finish line 15th in his final start for 2009.

Carl Edwards grabbed his fifth NNS victory followed by Kevin Harvick, Reed Sorrenson, Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski.

Next weekend, NASCAR’s junior circuit will close out the 2009 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

ESPN2’s live coverage of the 300-lap event will begin Saturday, November 21 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Qualifying will air live the same day beginning at 11:30 a.m. EST on SPEED. MRN and Sirius XM Satellite Radio will also provide live updates of time trials.


“We got to pass a lot of cars, that’s for sure. We started 37th after qualifying and going out first, that killed us. I love this race track. It’s one of the most fun places I’ve been just because you get to drive it. It’s not riding around holding the steering wheel. We had a pretty good car at the beginning. We followed the 18 (Kyle Busch) and the 29 (Clint Bowyer) all the way up through the field. Once we got to about 12th we leveled off with everybody. We kept trying to adjust it and made some good adjustments and we made some bad adjustments and unfortunately some bad adjustments were at the very end. We had to try something, we were maintaining where we were at and we needed to try moving forward. We just lost too much rear grip and fell back a couple extra spots. I think if we would have left it alone we could have stayed in the top 10, but you know you have to try stuff. You have to keep moving forward because you know everyone else is going to be. It was a good run, I guess. Good job in the pits. The car was halfway clean until about 20 (laps) to go and then they got in the right side of us in the wreck in turn four. It was a decent day and we learned a lot.”

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