Bayne still committed to Nationwide

Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne is set to remain focused on winning the Nationwide Series title, turning down an eventual chance to contend for a berth in the Chase for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series

Bayne still committed to Nationwide

The 20-year-old entered the season-opener as the first of a planned 17-race schedule in NASCAR's top series with Wood Brothers Racing, the legendary outfit only having funding for those events.

Following the win at Daytona, the team plans to add another race, entering the sixth event of the season at Martinsville but further additions rely on sponsorship.

Besides his deal with Wood Brothers, Bayne is signed to contest his second full season in the second-tier Nationwide Series with Roush Fenway Racing, where he currently ranks fifth in the points.

NASCAR rules for this year restrict drivers racing in more than one national series to contending for one title only, although they can compete in as many races as they wish all across NASCAR. The rule is aimed at allowing young drivers to have a shot at the championship, as Cup drivers have dominated the Nationwide Series in the past few years.

Bayne selected running for the Nationwide Series title this year and although NASCAR would allow him to change his mind and start scoring points for the Sprint Cup series from next weekend at Phoenix, his Daytona win would not count towards his points tally.

However, his win would count in terms of eventually being eligible to make the Chase, as this year the two drivers with the most wins not in the top 10 in points after the first 26 races earn a place in the championship playoff.

Despite all these, plus having no sponsor for his Nationwide Series car, Bayne says he remains committed to his initial plan.

"I think I'm going to stay with Nationwide," said Bayne. "I think it's a great thing they're doing for the sport, for the young drivers there, to be able to rise up as champions. Nothing really changed. The only thing that changed is we get to be the Daytona 500 champions, which is really, really incredible.

"I think we're still going to have an awesome year at Roush Fenway running for that Nationwide championship. Obviously they still have a blank car. I'd love to get some partners on it. As for now, we're still running full-time.

"The Wood Brothers only have 18 races, 17 with Ford Motorcraft, and Quick Lane and But the 18th race is the one we're going to run at Martinsville due to the funds we won at Daytona.

"I'm still not full-time Cup, still going to run for the championship at Nationwide. I don't regret any of our decisions there. We're still off to a great start in both series with a win in the first."

Bayne says Sunday's victory, his first ever in NASCAR, has yet to sink in and says many of his rivals have called to show their support and congratulate him on his accomplishment.

He says, however, that a call from the White House is the one that left him stunned.

"I don't know how to thank [Wood Brothers Racing] enough for the opportunity to drive that race car, be in that position to win," Bayne said. "I mean, it's taken its time to sink in.

"The high point was when the White House called and said the President was going to want to talk to me in the next couple days. I haven't talked to him yet. I had no idea who it was. Just a private number came up on my phone. Jimmie Johnson called, Jeff Gordon. All of them have been showing their support, but that one was the one that shocked me the most."

Despite his age, Bayne has shown great appreciation for his team's history and legacy. Wood Brothers has been in NASCAR for more than 60 years, having most of its golden years in the 1970's with David Pearson, who developed a great rivalry with Richard Petty while winning 43 out of the outfit's 98 victories to this day.

Bayne credited Pearson for giving him a key advice while entering the event and he believes his win driving the same #21 that Pearson turned into an icon, finally did some justice to NASCAR's longest standing outfit.

"Talking to David Pearson, it was small, simple advice that a lot of people would tell me," said Bayne. "Just with him it stuck. He was just saying, kind of jokingly, they asked him on ESPN if he had any advice. He said, Be careful. Do the 21 car some justice. That stuck out.

"I entered that race with a totally different mindset than I normally had. As a 19-, 20-year-old, you manage a lot of your things off of performance. You want to be the guy that leads every lap, you want to make a statement, you want to do everything right. You put a lot of pressure on yourself.

"When he said that, I went into the race in kind of survival mode for the first 150 laps thinking, I have to get to the end of this, avoid any crashes, push, not be pushed, just be smart the whole time. That was crucial because that kept me calm, that kept me patient when we would drop to the back on some of the restarts to push back up to the field. Then at the end, just to make smart moves.

"Hopefully we did the 21 car some justice like he asked us to do. I think seeing him back in Victory Lane might have done it for him, so I hope so."

Bayne, the youngest winner in the history of the Daytona 500, earned a total prize money of US$1,463,813 for his victory in what was just his second outing in the Sprint Cup series.

Rookie Bayne wins Daytona 500
Previous article

Rookie Bayne wins Daytona 500

Next article

Edwards takes Phoenix pole

Edwards takes Phoenix pole
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

Feb 12, 2021