24 May 2014
Bayne promoted to full-time Cup seat in 2015
Trevor Bayne will race full time in the 2015 Sprint Cup Series championship, after being handed a full season deal by Roush Fenway Racing.
Trevor Bayne is to join Roush Fenway Racing's Sprint Cup Series line-up in 2015, the team announced on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bayne - a long time Roush Fenway development driver - currently competes in the Nationwide Series, with selected Cup outings for the Wood Brothers team. Memorably, one of those outings led to a shock triumph in the 2011 Daytona 500.
Bayne will drive the #6 car next season, which was last driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in October of 2012 at Charlotte but which is more famously the car driven by Mark Martin from 1988 through to 2006.
"This is obviously the biggest news I've ever had in my life," said the 23-year old from Tennessee. "Although we've had some big news before, this takes the cake.
"The person that I wanted to thank the most in this room is Jack Roush for standing behind me over the last four years now, Bayne continued. "We've been through a lot of ups-and-downs, but he and his organisation from day one has said our goal was to get to Sprint Cup.
"We always wondered when that day was gonna be: there were times when it felt like things were moving really fast and times where we had to really bite down and be patient, but one thing has stayed constant and that's Jack and Steve Newmark and everybody else – Evan Lyall – at Roush Fenway Racing that have been committed to me and my career.
"They've always developed young drivers and I'm glad to be one of those that have had the opportunity to drive Jack's Nationwide cars," Bayne added. "Now I'm finally gonna get to drive one of his Sprint Cup cars. This is just such an opportunity and this room is full of people who have supported me along the way."
Bayne had been left disappointed at the end of 2012 when then-fellow RFR development driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got the available Cup promotion after Matt Kenseth left the team and moved to Joe Gibbs Racing. With the Roush line-up remaining stable in 2013 and 2014 it seemed that Bayne's Cup ambitions at Roush were on indefinite hold.
The big question now is whether Bayne's promotion to Cup competition in 2015 means that the team is expanding to a four car line-up alongside Stenhouse, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, or whether one of the existing drivers is going to be leaving the team.
There has been speculation that Edwards will not extend his contract with the team for 2015 and is eyeing up following Kenseth to JGR, while Biffle will also be a free agent at the end of this season. However team owner Jack Roush would not be drawn into speculating on this point.
"There is nothing to announce at this time," he replied when asked. "We're still in a state of flux on that and we'll let you know when we have something more definite."
"We've made the commitment to our drivers that the contract negotiations and all that stuff goes on behind closed doors," said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. "There's no merit either way for us to do that out in the media. My hope is we'll have something on both of those [drivers] in the near future."
As well as the heights of his shock Daytona 500 victory, Bayne has also had to battle through some low points including the health scare that sidelined him for several races in 2011 and which was eventually revealed as a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Bayne has been symptom-free since then and says that it doesn't affect his racing, as he's proved with his Nationwide Series campaign.
Bayne has made 128 starts in NASCAR's second-tier competition since 2009, and has two series victories to his name. He currently ranks fifth in the 2014 Nationwide standings. He's also made 50 Cup starts with Wood Brothers, to whom he was quick to pay tribute for helping develop his Cup career over the last three seasons.
"I just left the Wood Brothers hauler from talking to Eddie and Len, so if I'm a little shaky and look like I might have been teared up a little bit it's from talking to those guys, and just the support they've given me over the last three years, to be able to get to a place where I could have this opportunity," said Bayne. "To drive that #21 car has been incredible and now I get to move on to another legendary number in the #6 car."
Bayne's current Nationwide sponsors, sports performance products marketing giant Advocare, will move over to be his full-time sponsors in the Cup championship.
"This is a huge opportunity for me to be able to drive the #6 car with a full-time sponsor like AdvoCare," said Bayne. "I look forward to a long relationship with them ... It's just one of the best companies you could ever ask for to represent and to represent you.
"Today is about AdvoCare, the #6 Roush Fenway Ford, and me finally getting to live out my dream, so I couldn't be more excited," he said.
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