June Nationwide race at Iowa Speedway named a ‘Top Race’ for 2013 by NASCAR

Bayne's victory in DuPont Pioneer 250 results in Comeback Driver of Year Award

For the second year in a row, Iowa Speedway hosted one of the top races in the Nationwide Series. NASCAR announced the June 9 DuPont Pioneer 250 as one of the top events in the series Wednesday.

Trying to win his first race, eventual series champion Austin Dillon dominated the first 200-plus laps of the 250-lap event. But, with 12 laps to go, hard-charging Trevor Bayne got by and took the checkers.

“The race saw 12 lead changes among four drivers,” NASCAR spokeswoman Amanda Ellis said in the announcement. “Bayne, who got married five days earlier, notched his second career victory in the series and his first since taking over the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford vacated by two-time NASCAR Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.”

“We’re obviously thrilled to have been included by NASCAR as one of the top Nationwide Series races last season,” Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small said. “Short track racing produces exciting action, and by being the fastest short track on the planet, we expect to put on a great show at every event.”

Bayne’s performance in the race as resulted in an award of his own from NASCAR. The Daytona 500 champion was named one of the Nationwide Series “Comeback Drivers of the Year.”

Going into the 2013 season, no driver had more pressure to succeed. He had just stepped in for the two-time, back-to-back series champ Stenhouse and Roush Fenway Racing was still waiting to see if he could handle the expectations of working with a championship-caliber team.

He delivered, epitomized by his DuPont Pioneer 250 performance.

It was later announced Bayne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis the same week as his Iowa Speedway victory. Still, he was able to post career bests in both top fives (seven) and top 10s (21) while posting his highest finish ever — sixth — in the season-ending championship standings.

He spent all but four weeks in the top 10 of the standings.

Daily News Editor Bob Eschliman may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at beschliman@newtondailynews.com.