Bayne looks to break points tie with Smith at Texas
April 03, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com
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Here’s a rejected script. Reason: It’s been done before.
Athlete wins big race/game. Athlete soon falls on hard times, leaves sport. Athlete fights to get back into the sport he loves. Athlete wins upon returning. Credits roll.
Except it’s real life … Trevor Bayne’s life.
Three years ago, in November 2011, Bayne capped off a roller-coaster of a year with his career-first NASCAR Nationwide Series win in the fall Texas race. His season began with a storybook opening that saw him celebrating in Victory Lane at the Daytona 500. In between, he was sidelined by illness.
So whenever Bayne hits the track at Texas Motor Speedway, it brings back memories of that 2011 season. And this time around, he's gunning for a championship.
Bayne heads to Texas with the rest of the NNS contingent for Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 on a mission -- to unseat Regan Smith from atop the points standings. Although the two drivers are tied in points, Smith holds the tiebreaker by virtue of his win in the Daytona season opener. It is the first time in Bayne's six-year career that he has held or shared the points lead.
"I'm excited about getting back to Texas," Bayne said. "Not only am I running both series (he's also driving the No. 21 Ford in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race), it's also where AdvoCare's headquarters are located and where I earned my first Nationwide Series win. We have been steadily climbing up the points ladder and I’m hoping to take the top spot this weekend. The guys have been working really hard to get me fast cars and I think it’s paying off.”
Bayne’s quest to usurp Smith from his top spot, which he has held after each of the first five races, is definitely possible. Six of his seven Texas starts have resulted in top-15 finishes. In the spring race last year, he posted a 26th-place finish, but followed that up with an 11th in his most recent trip to Texas last November.