Bayne, racing in a Sprint Cup car at Atlanta for the first time, qualified a disappointing 32nd, but he soon moved into the top 25 once the green flag was flying.
Midway through the race, which featured long stretches of green-flag racing, Bayne dropped off the lead lap, but quick work by his Wood Brothers pit crew and smart strategy from crew chief Donnie Wingo, got him back on the lead lap when it counted.
Bayne found himself squarely in the mix during the green-white-checkered-flag run to the finish and held his own against some of the sport’s top drivers.
“We finished on the lead lap in 16th and almost finished 15th, but everyone was spinning their tires on that last restart because we didn’t have new tires and it was whoever could get hooked up the quickest,” Bayne said. “We got hooked up, but I couldn’t switch lanes and pass the 9 [Marcos Ambrose] before the start-finish, so [Greg] Biffle got by me.”
“We ended up getting by the 9, but I just couldn’t catch Greg for a top 15, but after a day like today where you struggle and go two laps down, to fight back to the lead lap and finish 16th, is respectable for us, and we’ll take it.
“It’s not exactly what you want, but you’ll take it on a rough day like this.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood was pleased with the performance of his team from top to bottom.
During green flag pit stops, Bayne got the most from his car getting on and off pit road, and the over-the-wall crew, held their own against the best in the business.
“I’m really happy,” Wood said. “We finished on the lead lap in Trevor’s first Sprint Cup race at Atlanta, and Donnie Wingo made some really good calls, taking the wave-around to get us back on the lead lap, and then short pitting at other times.
“He got us back on the lead lap, and Trevor drove a good race, especially considering all the green-flag runs where he didn’t get a chance to take a break.”
Bayne and the Good Sam/Camping World team return to the Sprint Cup Series in two weeks at Chicagoland Speedway, the home track for Good Sam and Camping World.