July 13, 2012

Bayne looking forward to TD Bank 250

It's been a frustrating year for 2011 Daytona 500 champ Trevor Bayne, who races at OPS next week.

By BILL STEWART Kennebec Journal

Trevor Bayne understands what it takes to race with the Sprint Cup big boys. He also understands that while racing at the top NASCAR rung can be fun, it's also a business.

Trevor Bayne
click image to enlarge

Trevor Bayne hasn’t been able to land a full-time ride in either the Sprint Cup or Nationwide series despite becoming the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500.

The Associated Press


WHAT: Lenox Industrial Tools 301

WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (oval, 1.058 miles), Loudon

DISTANCE: 318.46 miles, 301 laps


LAST YEAR: Ryan Newman raced to his lone 2011 victory, holding off boss and teammate Tony Stewart.

Driver standings

1. Matt Kenseth 676

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 651

3. Greg Biffle 632

4. Jimmie Johnson 618

5. Tony Stewart 592

6. Kevin Harvick 586

7. Denny Hamlin 584

8. Martin Truex Jr. 584

9. Brad Keselowski 573

10. Clint Bowyer 572

11. Carl Edwards 541

12. Kyle Busch 516

13. Paul Menard 507

14. Joey Logano 503

15. Ryan Newman 502

16. Kasey Kahne 500

17. Jeff Gordon 485

18. Jeff Burton 470

19. Marcos Ambrose 470

20. Jamie McMurray 462

He acknowledges pressure, admits to the many ups and downs that challenge young drivers and copes with an uncertain future, even with a Daytona 500 victory on his resume.

"It can be stressful," Bayne said from his shop in Concord, N.C. "Livelihoods are on the line at the top level. It's a job, a way of life for a lot of people. It's how people pay the bills. But you still have to remember, we're driving race cars for a living. We're not saving the world. We're racing. We forget that sometimes."

Bayne gets all of this, and it's why he will make his first trip to Maine next weekend for the 39th annual TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.

The youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500, Bayne, 21, said he will travel north to travel back in time.

"This race will bring me back to my roots," he said. "I'm so pumped. I don't get to do too much short-track stuff anymore. I have no real Late Model experience. I know it's going to be a real learning curve for me. But for me, it's going to be so much fun to race when it's not just your job.

"It gets to the point where it can be stressful at the top level. But if you run good or you run bad, you won't have to live it through all week. I've never been to Maine before but I'm really looking forward to it."

Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champ, races a limited Sprint Cup and Nationwide schedule. He drives for Roush Fenway Racing but only on a part-time basis. Despite winning one of NASCAR's premier races, Bayne is biding his time with Roush.

The organization has already announced that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will fill the seat of Matt Kenseth, who is leaving Roush after 14 years. Despite being passed over for the Sprint Cup ride, Bayne said he could slide into Stenhouse's ride on the Nationwide Series next season.

For now, Bayne is concentrating on finishing the year strong -- he has one Nationwide and eight Sprint Cup races left on his schedule.

"I wish we had a full-time ride but we had to take a step back," he said. "Next year, hopefully, I can go full time. It's hard because I want to race. I'm under contract with Roush Fenway and I just have to be patient. But as a young driver, it can be hard to be patient sometimes. I just love to race. It's all I want to do."

Bayne will be the latest in a long line of NASCAR drivers to race the 250.

Since 2004, Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Ricky Craven, Denny Hamlin, Terry Labonte, Kevin Harvick, J.J. Yeley and Brad Keselowski have raced at Oxford Plains. Kyle Busch won the 250 last year and Harvick took the checkered flag in 2008.

"I'm going up there to be competitive," Bayne said. "I don't want to say it's all for fun. When you come in from the top level, you don't want to give the (local) drivers any bragging rights."

Bayne, a Knoxville, Tenn., native, will drive a Late Model owned by Kendall Roberts of Barre, Vt. Roberts prepared Keselowski's car for the 2010 race.

Bayne said he plans to arrive at Oxford for a practice session on July 21, the day before the 250.

"I can't wait," said Bayne.


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