NASCAR Nationwide Series: Trevor Bayne and Danica Patrick Back on Track

Camille JonesContributor IIIJune 4, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 24:  53rd Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne gis congratulated by NASCAR driver Danica Patrick February 24, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Bayne and Patrick made a special appearance at Phoenix International Raceway's annual 'Night of Champions' charity event held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, Arizona  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Phoenix International Raceway)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Two of the big-name stories heading into the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland were 2011 Daytona 500 winner, Trevor Bayne, and IndyCar Series/ part-time NASCAR driver, Danica Patrick, both making their first starts after both missing multiple races for separate reasons. 

Bayne, who took home the Daytona 500 win earlier this season, became ill and was removed from the race car for six weeks, only races after his big win. He made his first start back tonight after being cleared by doctors to race again. 

Starting 31st, after starting order was set by practice speeds due to a rained-out qualifying, Trevor Bayne battled through the field to clear almost half of it by the competition caution on Lap 25. He continued his shred through the remaining cars before finishing third, and being the only driver to finish in the top three with his car still under power. 

With good finishes on the rise, Bayne has finished in the top six in his past three starts. 

Meanwhile, Danica Patrick, who missed every Nationwide Series race since the Bristol race in March due to fulfilling her IndyCar Series contract, came back to finish tenth in tonight's event. This was a one-week deal, and her next start will be at Daytona in July. This was Patrick's second top-10 finish in her 18 starts in the Nationwide Series.

Both drivers show that while consistency matters, they each can come back from weeks off and still collect good finishes. Trevor Bayne is slated to finish the series in his full-time ride, while Danica Patrick will continue her part-time ride with seven more starts to go this season.