Bayne wins Dash 4 Cash finale at Iowa
August 02, 2014, George Winkler, NASCAR.com
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NEWTON, Iowa -- For NASCAR Nationwide Series Dash 4 Cash winner James Dennis from Henry, Illinois, it turned out to be good that Trevor Bayne was bad at playing Connect Four and cornhole. It was Bayne's deficiencies in the pre-race contest that led him to being paired with Dennis for the sweepstakes' grand finale on Saturday night in the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway.
It also helped that when it came time to race there was nothing deficient about the way Bayne performed in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Bayne held off Brian Scott after some door-to-door racing with 49 laps to go and a hard-charging Ty Dillon on the final restart to pocket $100,000 not only for his race team but also for the stunned gentleman from Illinois.
Shortly after the checkered flag waved with Bayne finishing third behind Brad Keselowski and Michael McDowell, out came the big checks, along with some fake cash that the No. 6 team gleefully tossed into the air on pit road. But several minutes later as he took a seat next to Bayne on the dais in the media center, Dennis' hands were still trembling with nerves.
When asked what he'd do with the money, Dennis said, "It's going into my bank account. Got to wait for the check to clear so that way I know it's real."
To that, Bayne let out a hearty laugh, as did others in the room. Earlier, Bayne talked about what it meant to win the grand prize for Dennis.
"Just to see James' response over here is really cool," Bayne said. "I remember that feeling from winning races. You wake up the next morning and realize this isn't a joke, this is for real."
Making the $100,000 prize a reality didn't come easy. The Dash 4 Cash drama reached a crescendo on the final restart, which occurred after James Buescher smacked the wall on the frontstretch, bringing out a caution on Lap 243 of 250. The leaders came into the pits under caution, with Keselowski waiting to the last possible moment to make his decision to enter pit road.
Some teams took two tires while others took four, and when the cars emerged for the final restart, Dash 4 Cash drivers Bayne, Scott and Regan Smith all gained two positions, while Dillon picked up three.
Bayne restarted in the third position, with Scott fourth, Smith fifth and Dillon sixth. Then, after the restart, three-wide racing ensued before Bayne emerged victorious in the Dash 4 Cash.
Said Dillon of the final restart, "As soon as we pulled out double-file for the restart and all I see is blue spoilers (designating a Dash 4 Cash driver) in front of me, I knew it was about to get good."
It was a restart that the fan contestant never saw.
"I felt if I watched you the whole time I might jinx you," Dennis said to Bayne. "So I just kind of let him do his job and he did it well."
For Bayne, a former winner at Iowa, winning the Dash 4 Cash was the capper on a night in which the No. 6 also won the Coors Light Pole Award.
"I'm proud of our team this weekend because I felt like we were in this thing from the beginning to the end of the weekend," Bayne said. "We haven't been able to put together a whole race weekend like that yet this year."
With the third-place finish, Bayne moved into a tie for fifth place in the Nationwide standings with Scott, 41 points behind leader Chase Elliott. Smith is in second, two points back, and Dillon is tied with Elliott Sadler for third, 12 points behind.
Bayne became the fourth different Dash 4 Cash winner this season, joining Smith (New Hampshire), Scott (Chicagoland) and Dillon (Indianapolis). But turned out Bayne was the most important winner, bouncing back quite nicely from the Connect Four debacle.