Saturday, October 16, 2021

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Bayne: “This is the one I’ve been waiting on”

The story of Trevor Bayne has been well documented. From winning the Daytona 500 shortly after his twentieth birthday, Bayne was sidelined for over a month of the 2011 Nationwide Series season.

Bayne came back, although he championship hopes were done. He picked up his first career Nationwide Series win at Texas Motor Speedway in November, 2011.

That win looked to be the spark that would catapult Bayne into contending for the 2012 Nationwide title, but a lack of funding for both of Jack Roush’s Nationwide Series cars posed a problem.

Roush ideally wanted to have both of his young drivers complete for the championship, but he was forced to make a decision between fielding the defending Nationwide champion’s car, Rick Stenhouse Jr., or Bayne who had shown potential.

Roush chose to field Stenhouse Jr.’s car, which worked out well for the organization. Stenhouse Jr. won his second-straight championship and earned a ride for Roush in the Sprint Cup Series.

That left an empty seat in Roush’s Nationwide program. A seat that Bayne wanted to fill after competing in only six of the 33 races in 2012.

Bayne got his wish, and will compete for the 2013 Nationwide championship behind the wheel of the very car that won the past two series championships.

“I’m really excited,” said Bayne. “The opportunity I have this year is the one I’ve been waiting on.

“Everybody knows that last season I was part-time and it was kind of a slow season for us. But now we get a real opportunity to run for a championship.”

But being back behind the wheel full-time is a lot of pressure. Add more onto it when you’re driving for one of the top organizations in all of NASCAR.

Bayne knows that, and accepts it.

“Mike Kelly (crew chief) and that whole six team has already proven they can do it,” said Bayne. They won two (championships) in a row, so it’s a little bit of pressure to do three-in-a-row.”

Bayne isn’t the only driver gunning for the championship in the Nationwide Series, nor is he the front-line favorite for the crown either.

With numerous past Nationwide winners driving for teams that won races in 2012, the 2013 season is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory for the series.

” The Nationwide Series has picked up its game this season,” said Bayne. “I think the past couple years there was a little down time for the series with not as many teams that were competitive.

“But this season, you got us, you got Brian Vickers, Elliott Sadler will be back, Austin Dillon. There’s a lot of good teams out there.

“It’d be crazy to think that it’s not going to be tough, but it’s not more than we can handle. I think we’ll be a contender to win races and contend for the championship.”

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