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Fort Worth, TX (Sports Network) - Trevor Bayne shocked the racing world in February with his Daytona 500 victory. Eight months later, he finally won his first race in NASCAR's second-tier series at Texas Motor Speedway.
Bayne passed his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards for the lead just after the final restart with six laps remaining in Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. He then held off a hard-charging Denny Hamlin during the last three laps for his first win in his 77th career Nationwide Series start.
"This is incredible," said Bayne, who led just the final six laps. "I had a good feeling going into this week all along. It's been a long-time coming. My guys have worked so hard to get a Nationwide win. We've been through a lot to get here. That was cool to go up there and race with Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin for a win. We had to pass the best to get there."
Earlier this year, Bayne missed five Nationwide races while recovering from symptoms that include: nausea, fatigue and impaired vision. The 20-year-old had been hospitalized at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, undergoing tests for what doctors believed to be at that time an "inflammatory condition."
Bayne has been on a roll in Nationwide lately, posting four straight top-10 finishes.
"It's just great to be a part of Trevor Bayne's first Nationwide win," said Chad Norris, who serves as crew chief for Bayne's No.16 Roush Fenway Ford.
Bayne's win at Texas allowed Ford to clinch the manufacturer's championship, its first since 2002.
Hamlin, substituting for Kyle Busch in Joe Gibbs Racing's No.18 Toyota, had to start from the rear of the field due to a driver change. Earlier in the day, NASCAR suspended Busch from this weekend's Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races at Texas following his retaliation against Ron Hornaday Jr. in Friday night's Camping World Truck Series event here.
"A lot of drivers have switched cars, and it's hard to do it in things that are not set to you," said Hamlin, who is Busch's teammate at JGR. "We have a totally different body frame and height. It's tough. I'm so proud of this team. The pit crew did an amazing job to pick me up every time I came on pit road."
Edwards, who had dominated the race by leading 157 of 200 laps, wound up finishing third. He had won the last two Nationwide races at this track.
"Congrats to Trevor; he's a great competitor and a great guy," Edwards said. "He could have pulled out earlier and put that move on me, but he made sure we were both clear of [Hamlin]. I can't say enough good things about him. It's frustrating to lose this race, but I couldn't lose it to a better guy. He's a good friend."
Clint Bowyer finished fourth, while Brad Keselowski, the 2010 Nationwide championship, took the fifth spot.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s sixth-place finish coupled with a ninth-place run for Elliott Sadler allowed Stenhouse to increase his points lead to 17 over Sadler. Just two races remain -- Phoenix (November 12) and Homestead (Nov. 19).
Stenhouse dealt with an ill-handling car and fell back in the field late in the race, but the Roush Fenway driver rebounded in the closing laps.
Sadler started on the pole and ran among the top-five until he faded during the last 20 laps.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished seventh, and Joey Logano was eighth. Brian Vickers completed the top-10.
Danica Patrick placed 11th. Patrick is competing in the remaining races this season before she runs in Nationwide full-time in 2012. She is also scheduled for at least 10 Sprint Cup races next year, beginning with the Daytona 500.
Kenny Wallace finished 13th in what was his record 520th start in Nationwide. Wallace surpassed Jason Keller for most career starts in the series.
11/05 17:08:18 ET
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