LAS VEGAS – There is no doubt that Trevor Bayne has driven his heart out throughout his stock car career.
Any remaining doubts were quelled after a gutsy fifth place result for Bayne in his No. 18 Devotion Nutrition Toyota Supra fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing. More so, the 31-year-old Knoxville, Tennessee native dropped the hammer throughout the Alsco Uniforms 302 race weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
After qualifying second, bested ever so slightly by pole sitter AJ Allmendinger, Bayne had an eventful race on Saturday afternoon.
Despite falling to an 11th place finish in Stage 1, he rallied to ninth in Stage 2, setting up for a strong result in Stage 3.
By all means, Bayne, with crew chief Jason Ratcliff, made it happen in the late going at the 1.5-mile speedway. The 2011 Daytona 500 champion logged a strong fifth place result, his fifth of his part-time 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule.
Following Saturday’s race, Bayne was a bit lightheaded before he fainted once he climbed out of his No. 18 car.
Bayne felt a bit better after he was evaluated and released from the infield medical center, reflecting on the adverse conditions during and after the race.
“I’m okay,” Bayne said per a Toyota Racing press release. “We were talking and after I got done talking, I started to feel out of breath and I’m like, ‘Parker (Kligerman, NBC), you’re getting too close here.’
“When I got out of the car, my left ear was ringing, and I knocked one of the crush panels out so I don’t know if I got gassed. All I can say is I guess I was trying as hard as I could there.”
In a series priding itself with names being made, Bayne added to the toughness and grittiness associated with this competitive division. While Bayne nabbed a top five result, it was not a walk in the park.
“I think it’s been as eventful now as it could ever possibly be,” he shared. “I spun out, got a pit road penalty and drove back to fifth. What I was saying right there when I started feeling light-headed is that when I got to fifth, I felt like I moved the top up better than anybody.
“You have that grey strip at the top and once the No. 9 (Noah Gragson) got behind me, he moved up to where I was running it in and my car just got tight as I was taking rubber. The only way I could get it to turn, ironically after spinning out from being loose was to find grey race track and at the end, it just got too rubbered up and I got too tight.”
Although Bayne showcased that he has plenty left in his tank as a competitive racer, he wants to close out his part-time schedule on a strong note.
“In the end, a fifth place finish is good, but my opportunities are winding down here and I’ve got one left at Homestead and I feel like we’ll be good there, but I want to win one of these things so bad,” he observed.
Naturally, teamwork is what it takes to compete in any of NASCAR’s top three divisions. As such, Bayne hopes his over the wall crew can deliver next time out at Homestead.
“You can’t run the 18 car with Jason Ratcliff and not win,” he said. “But I feel like we’ve got the speed and Jason’s doing a great job. We just have to get off pit road. That’s been our Achilles heel all year. Probably cost us four races. The guys have good stops when they’re good.”
Mistakes happen even with one of the top teams in NASCAR. That said, Bayne is determined to close out his 2022 efforts with another quality performance for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“We just have some mistakes we have to clean up and today it was somebody falling over the wall,” Bayne remarked. “What do you do? You just have to come back and race hard.”