Skip to content

Runner-up finish at Chicago could be start of turnaround for Trevor Bayne

Jul 20, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) AP

JOLIET, Ill. — Saturday’s runner-up finish in the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway may very well be a turning point for Trevor Bayne in the 2014 season.

His run tied a season-best showing (second at Dover), left him in sixth-place in the standings, just 50 points behind with 15 more races to go.

And if Bayne can continue his momentum this coming weekend at Indianapolis, his hopes for a Nationwide championship in his final year in the series could potentially come true.

Bayne ran a strong race, finishing second to NNS rookie and new points leader Chase Elliott, who won his third event of the season. Elliott’s margin of victory was 1.7 seconds over Bayne’s Ford.

“The last two runs of the race, we had a car that could win it,” Bayne told MotorSportsTalk. “That’s as competitive as we’ve been all year long and ties our best finish of the season at Dover.

“I felt like we had a better chance in this race than at Dover. … We ended up coming home second, just short, which is a little bittersweet, but we’ll take the sweet part because it’s just nice to be in contention in these things and have cars that are capable of winning races. If we can do that week in and week out, we’ll be there.”

In 18 starts this season, Bayne has three top-fives and 13 top-10s. He’s also had two DNFs.

But Saturday’s run brought out a new kind of confidence that even though Bayne characterizes the first part of this season as having been a struggle, there’s no reason why the second half of the season has to be the same.

“(If there had been) 10 or 15 (more) laps, I think we might have had something for them,” Bayne said. “We’re pretty happy with our run there and I was pumped to just be able to see the leader there and be making gains at him.

“This season has been a struggle for us overall. It’s nice to just have some speed here at a mile-and-a-half, track and there’s a lot of mile-and-a-halfs that are the same, so we’re hoping that carries on through the rest of the season for our Advocare Mustang.

“I’m hoping this run at Chicago can give us that momentum and knowledge we’ve been looking for. … We’ve made a lot of changes to our cars to make them all season long and we finally seemed to make some gains Saturday night.

“When you go to Chicago, you want to think you’ve learned something there that you can take to places like Atlanta, Kentucky and Charlotte, places like that and do real well at.”

Next up for Bayne is the legendary 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Having already won NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500, Bayne would love to win either the NNS or Sprint Cup event at Indy.

“Indy is one of the most overwhelming tracks you can go inside as a driver,” Bayne said. “You look down the frontstretch, it looks like a tunnel going down into Turn 1 and all of a sudden it’s just a 90-degree left without any banking, and you start second-guessing yourself if this thing is going to stick.

“We look forward to going there because we think we can run real well there, especially with the experience we have.”

And a trophy from Indy – be it NNS or Sprint Cup – would find a welcome home next to his Daytona 500 trophy.

“We’d like to add any trophy, so we’ll take them anywhere we can get ’em,” Bayne said with a laugh. “Indy is a really special place and I think it’s close to Daytona, if not tied with it, as far as motorsports is concerned.

“Indy has as much or more history than any track we go to, and to win any kind of race there, whether it’s Nationwide or Cup, winning the Brickyard 400 would be a huge deal, but winning the Nationwide race would also be great. To have a chance there, it’d be awesome to come down to the finish and see what we’ve got, sailing into Turn 4 for the last time for a battle. We look forward to going there and think we can run well there.”

Bayne has plenty of incentive to win at Indy, but there’s a bit more added this time: he’s one of four drivers who will be in contention for the Nationwide Dash-4-Cash promotion, where the highest finisher of the four drivers will take home a cool $100,000.

Bayne saw Brian Scott do just that Saturday night at Chicagoland, finishing sixth, the best of the four drivers chosen for that event.

Where Bayne goes from there remains to be seen. But if the feeling he has after Chicagoland is any indication, a turnaround is definitely on his mind.

“We’ve been consistent all year long,” Bayne said. “We had a couple races where we weren’t consistent. We got tangled up in the rain (at Road America) and got taken out at Michigan. Those were tough races for us to swallow because that’s what gave us that deficit in points.

“It’s a long season still ahead of us. There’s still two road courses left, we’ve got Bristol, some other short tracks like Richmond coming up where those guys can have bad days.

“We can have bad days, too, but we’ll just try to avoid those. Hopefully, those are between us and we can capitalize on some points.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. The Rolling Stones hit IMS on Saturday, so here’s an IndyCar-inspired set list

    Jul 2, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    StonesIMS Getty Images

    What if The Rolling Stones’ concert set list at IMS was specifically inspired by recent IndyCar events? We ponder the possibilities.

  2. Vandoorne in regular talks with McLaren about future

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne holds his trophy as he celebrates after winning the GP2 series race at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Could the Belgian be racing in Formula 1 next season?

  3. Several stats, streaks or droughts of note leaving Fontana

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:44 AM EDT

    IndyPostACSstats Getty Images

    A Power outage, JPM and Marco’s quiet rolls, and other IndyCar nuggets of note leaving Fontana.

  4. GP2: Rowland, Cecotto, Lancaster, Canamasas all in for Silverstone round

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Four driver changes ahead of this weekend’s round at Silverstone.

  5. 2015 British Grand Prix Preview

    Jul 2, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    150702_LewisHamilton Getty Images

    Can Lewis Hamilton make it a homecoming to remember by scoring his third British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone?

  6. Mark Miles: “We are not going to have a five-month season” in 2016

    Jul 1, 2015, 5:53 PM EDT

    Mark Miles Mark Miles

    The CEO of IndyCar discussed the challenges of putting together an extended series schedule.

  7. Here are your British Grand Prix air times on CNBC, NBCSN, Live Extra

    Jul 1, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    BritishGPtv Getty Images

    TV times across the board for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

  8. Miles: After “two-sided pancake” Fontana race, IndyCar may crack down against stakeholder comments

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:59 PM EDT

    will power fontana 2015 getty Getty Images

    Could penalties be coming to drivers who speak out about IndyCar’s on-track product? Mark Miles flips some pancakes on the possibility.

  9. IndyCar issues penalties and fines following MAVTV 500 at Fontana

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:03 PM EDT

    California Speedway Getty Images

    Will Power fined, put on probation after shoving safety official during Saturday’s race.

  10. NHRA shakeup: Tom Compton retires as president, Peter Clifford named successor

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    tom compton retires from nhra -- getty Getty Images

    In a surprise move, the NHRA announced Wednesday that president Tom Compton has retired after 15 years as the sanctioning body’s chief executive officer

  11. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb results under review

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:54 PM EDT

    RHYS MILLEN RHYS MILLEN

    The provisional winner of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is Rhys Millen.

  12. Ed Carpenter: driver criticism of IndyCar ‘confusing for fans’

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    The CFH Racing co-owner says IndyCar will never grow if “we’re tearing it apart from the inside out.”

  13. Hawksworth: “I wouldn’t say it was crazy; it was exciting”

    Jul 1, 2015, 11:02 AM EDT

    HawkTMS Getty Images

    One of A.J. Foyt’s young drivers makes some wiser points beyond his years about Saturday’s race in Fontana.

  14. Royal Purple, Manpower to Horsepower program to be featured in Red Bull GRC this week

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT

    Photo: Manpower to Horsepower Photo: Manpower to Horsepower

    Feature on Manpower to Horsepower to air during Red Bull GRC show this Sunday on NBC.

  15. F1 and classic machinery at Goodwood, 2015, in photos

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT

    McLaren Formula One driver and 2009 World champion Jenson Button prepares to drive the ex Ayrton Senna McLaren MP4. Photo; Getty Images Getty Images

    A selection of images from the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

  16. Red Bull GRC: SH Rallycross premieres patriotic HAUS livery for MCAS

    Jun 30, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Photo: SH Rallycross Photo: SH Rallycross

    SH Rallycross’ HAUS livery for Red Bull GRC this weekend screams red, white and blue.

  17. Graham Rahal’s Fontana win was long overdue, and a long time coming

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:52 AM EDT

    RahalWinGroup Getty Images

    Given how well they’ve run this year, it was really only a matter of time until Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing won a race.

  18. Report: Filippi, Brabham set for IndyCar oval tests

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Josef Newgarden, Luca Filippi AP

    Luca Filippi and Matthew Brabham set for oval tests this Wednesday at Iowa Speedway.