By Kelly Crandall (CONCORD, N.C.) – @TBayne21 (Trevor Bayne) is finally getting his full-time shot.
Roush Fenway Racing announced Saturday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway that Bayne will compete full-time starting in 2015 in the Sprint Cup Series. He’ll bring current Nationwide Series sponsor AdvoCare with him in the multi-year deal, which will see the organization revive the famed No. 6 car.
“This is obviously the biggest news I’ve ever had in my life. Although we’ve had some big news before, this takes the cake. I’m really excited to be sitting up here beside Jack Roush and Mike Vaught from AdvoCare,” Bayne said, who is about to also celebrate his one-year marriage anniversary. “This is a huge opportunity for me to be able to drive the 6 car with a full-time sponsor like AdvoCare, but I could have never done all this without the people who have been behind me.
“I just left the Wood Brothers hauler from talking with Eddie and Len, and just the support they’ve given me over the last three years – to be able to get a place where I could have this opportunity. To drive that 21 car has been incredible and now I get to move on to another legendary number in the 6 car. This is something I’ve waited on since I was five years old, always wondering what car I would be in with what brand.”
Bayne is the 2011 Daytona 500 champion while driving for the Wood Brothers in another famed car, the No. 21. He’s been running a limited schedule with the organization since 2010 while competing full-time in the Nationwide Series for the championship with Roush. He’s a two-time Nationwide Series winner and finished sixth in points last season. After 10 Nationwide races this season he sits fifth.
“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. We’ve been through a lot of ups-and-downs, but he and his organization from day one has said our goal was to get to Sprint Cup. We always wondered when that day was gonna be,” Bayne said. “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.”
Having longed for a Cup ride, he’s had to wait longer than expected. Starting when he was sidelined in early 2011 for five races for what he believed were side effects of a bug bite. He was then diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis late last year, which Bayne is now under the impression is what he was battling after his Daytona 500 win. However, both Roush and the Wood Brothers have stood behind the 23-year-old and told him when the time was right and the partners were there, he would get the ride he deserved.
“This is a great day for me. I remember when I started with @MarkMartin in 1988 and NASCAR gave us the No. 6. Of course, we had trials and tribulations, we were up-and-down that year and actually won our first race in 1989. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it, but as we’ve gone through the years – 26 full years this fall – this No. 6 DNA has worked its way throughout the organization,” Roush said.
“It’s been really great to think about getting the No. 6 back on the track. I remember how sad I was at the end of our 18th year together when Mark decided he was gonna retire and, of course, I talked him out of it for another year and put it off so we got 19 full years out of him. But to have Trevor and AdvoCare back in the No. 6 car is just gonna be great. To watch Trevor develop and to understand the path they take with the family support down through the decades, he’s really a success story for his family and a role model for a lot of youngsters who want to make the most of their lives.”
Roush hasn’t used the No. 6 since David Ragan left the company following the 2011 season. Ragan had replaced longtime Roush driver Mark Martin, who made himself and the number famous back in the late 1980s and through the ‘90s. The combination of Roush and Martin in the No. 6 won 35 races and finished second in the championship in 1990, ’94, ’98 and 2002.
Martin first retired from full-time competition in 2006 from Roush and the No. 6, before returning with different organizations a few years later.
“There will also be a special place in my heart for the No. 6,” Martin said in a team statement. “It’s the number we used when Jack and I first went racing in 1988. There is so much history associated with that number and with the trials and successes that we went through as we helped build RFR into a premiere NASCAR team. I’ve very proud of what we were able to accomplish during that time together; a part of me will always be the No. 6, and I’m happy to see it return with Jack, Trevor and AdvoCare next season.”
As Bayne now moves into the Cup fold, team owner Jack Roush wasn’t ready to announced what the organizations complete driver lineup would look like for next season. Both Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle are in the middle of contract negotiations with rumors swirling of possible exits by either one or both.
Roush had nothing more to add on Saturday.
“Our 2015 pans are still in a state of flux. Certainly the fact that we’ve taken the No. 6 indicates that we have our plans open for a fourth car, but it’s still in a state of flux,” he said. “We’ll have more to announce on that later.”
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