By Justin Schuoler, Staff Writer
NASCAR part-time driver Trevor Bayne’s return to the track took an unfortunate turn as he crashed out of the Wawa 250 at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Friday night. Bayne, who had shown promising form throughout the race, finished 29th in his No. 19 He Gets Us Toyota GR Supra after leading an impressive 26 laps.
“I feel like it was great day for us,” Bayne recapped with media after the checkered flag. “I feel like we were pretty calm and collected in the first two stages. I went up and led some laps in stage two to show those guys that we were there, get them thinking about us a little bit. Backed up, got with our teammates, drove back up to the front with all three cars and eventually got the lead. With 10 to go, I was just evaluating how to make that last lap block.
“When we chose lanes, I knew the 21 (Austin Hill) behind me was a worst case scenario. He’s really aggressive. I knew he was going to pull of out lane as soon as he had a chance. He pushed me, and when he got to my bumper and turned out of line, it got me kind of loose and I went up for the block and just got hooked. I could have stayed down probably, maybe, could have done something different there, but definitely would have lost the race either way, once he got me loose like that. Had to go for it.”
Earlier in the week, Bayne had made headlines by announcing a significant deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. The deal secured a three-race contract for Bayne in the remainder of the 2023 season, marking a significant step forward in his comeback efforts.
Bayne’s racing history in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is not to be overlooked. He holds two career wins in the series, with victories at Texas in 2011 and Iowa in 2013. He also was victorious at this track in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2011, winning the “Super Bowl” of NASCAR – the Daytona 500. While that win remains one of the defining moments of his racing journey, his return to Daytona in nearly a decade was marred by the crash in the closing laps.
Despite the disappointment at Daytona, Bayne’s fans and the racing community are hopeful for his upcoming races. The next stop on his schedule is the Bristol Motor Speedway on September 15, where he aims to bounce back from the crash and continue his journey to regain his previous form.
“Just thankful to be here,” continued Bayne. “Thankful for the opportunity that He Gets Us gave me to run this race.”
As Bayne navigates his way through this season’s challenges, his supporters remain steadfast, eager to see him recapture the glory that has defined his racing career.
“Hopefully, we showed them that we mean business.”