The comeback tour of Trevor Bayne has just added another stop. The 2011 Daytona 500 champion has agreed to take over the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra for the first NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass provided the news on March 12 as the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers prepared for the United Rentals 200 at Phoenix Raceway. He said that Bayne will be back in the No. 18 at the reconfigured Georgia track, which gives the Tennessee native eight starts in 2022.
Bayne has made five total Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, albeit prior to the major changes. He joined Michael Waltrip Racing for two races and Roush Fenway Racing for three, and he posted one top-10 finish during the 2013 season. Now he will take on the reconfigured track that functions more as a superspeedway than an intermediate.
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Bayne Will Have Several Opportunities to Pursue Wins
When Bayne originally announced his return to the Xfinity Series, he set a seven-race schedule and declared that he wanted to win at least five of those starts. He came close at Auto Club Speedway with a third-place finish before taking fourth at Phoenix Raceway.
Bayne will now have six more opportunities to pursue wins. His schedule will continue at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19 before he has a few weeks of downtime.
Bayne will get back into action on Memorial Day Weekend when he heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the May 28 Xfinity Series race. Barring any other changes, he will round out his schedule at Nashville Superspeedway (June 25), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 16), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (October 15), and Homestead-Miami Speedway (October 22).
Bayne’s Weekend at Phoenix Featured Big Moments
Bayne made his second start of the 2022 season on March 12 at Phoenix Raceway. This trip to the one-mile track featured numerous big moments, including Bayne’s eighth Pole Award in 154 starts, and his first since the 2014 season.
The driver of the No. 18 posted the fastest qualifying time at 27.306 seconds. He narrowly edged out race-winner Noah Gragson, who had a time of 27.636 seconds. The two drivers continued to battle during the first stage of the United Rentals 200 as Bayne led 35 laps and beat Gragson in the drag race to the green and white checkered flag.
Bayne finished fourth in Stage 2 of the Xfinity Series race but he had to restart at the rear of the field. He was one of two drivers — along with Sam Mayer — who received a penalty for speeding on pit road. Though Bayne only received one speeding penalty while Mayer had three.
Despite facing some issues on pit road and a spin while battling for position on the track, Bayne returned to the top five during the final stage. He battled big names in Ty Gibbs, John Hunter Nemechek, Josh Berry, and Brandon Jones before ending his day in fourth.