Roush Fenway Racing and Trevor Bayne annouced again that the former Daytona 500 winner will drive full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) in 2013. Bayne will assume the drivers seat of the full time operation in which Ricky Stenhouse Jr current resides at as Stenhouse moves to the Sprint Cup Series full time.
The move of Stenhouse to the Cup level was a foregone conclusion for months. Matt Kenseth is leaving Roush Fenway Racing and the organization still plans to run three cars in 2013. Eventually RFR would like to return to a four car team but a lack of sponsorship dollars is preventing that right now.
When Bayne found out he would be running the Nationwide Series full side season he described it as “a good decision to go out there and get that first full season under our belt in the series. I haven’t gotten to go points racing and I think it would be good to get that under our belt before we go to that Cup level when it’s gonna be even tougher to do that and get that experience.”
If Trevor Bayne can be successful in the NNS series next season there is little reason to believe he will not be the driver in the fourth car should RFR expand. He just needs seat time and he needs it to be consistent.
Bayne was running the NNS schedule this year but when sponsors stopped appearing on the hood; the car stopped appearing on the track. Bayne went from an instant contender for the series championship to a driver just hoping to get some seat time.
While Bayne does still drive the No. 21 Wood Brothers car on Sunday’s those days are few and the days in which he is competitive are nearly nonexistent. Winning the Dayonta 500 was a great story for the Wood Brothers and Bayne but it should not be a career defining moment.
When Matt Kenseth is being interviewed do the announcers feel the need to remind the viewer that he won the 2012 Daytona 500? No.
Yet we are reminded that Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 in 2011, even if NASCAR is running Bristol.
Being thrown into a full time ride and not deserving it is the worst thing that can be pushed on to any driver. Kevin Conway ran the entire 2010 season because he had a marketing contract with Extenze and yet there was no one who thought he belonged in the garage. Conway had never proved himself at any level and being placed at the Sprint Cup level was not going to help him at all.
Trevor Bayne does not need that. Trevor Bayne needs seat time. He needs to run the entire Nationwide schedule and get familiar with as many tracks as he can. Right now everyone would agree that Trevor Bayne can run at the restrictor plate tracks but he has just one top ten finish in twenty races that were not at Daytona or Talladega.
Bayne has not run a full season in the Nationwide Series since joining Roush Fenway and 2013 will be Bayne’s chance to show himself. Bayne will have a bunch of pressure on him regardless as Stenhouse won a series title and may win another. Then there is developmental driver Chris Buescher. Buescher recently won his fourth ARCA Series race and soon questions will be asked about his future with Roush Fenway.