Bayne strives for more Daytona 500 glory
by Staff Writer
MOORESVILLE – Trevor Bayne was one day into his 20s when his NASCAR career took a major turn.
On Feb. 20, 2011, Bayne was in his second Sprint Cup Series race and his first Daytona 500 when he took the lead with six laps to go. The race’s favorites had all fallen by the wayside due to crashes. The door was wide open to steal a win.
Bayne held off a challenge from Carl Edwards and got his No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford to the checkered flag first, scoring his maiden – and thus far only – Sprint Cup victory.
He’s still known for the Daytona win two years later, but Bayne – who races part-time for the Woods and full-time in the Nationwide Series for Roush-Fenway – doesn’t mind.
“I think that’ll probably be (what I’m known for) forever, even if we win a championship,” he said.
Since his victory, the Mooresville resident has had reasonable success. He’s posted two top-10 finishes in his 32 races since the 500 victory.
“Obviously, not running as much has (kept me) out of the limelight since then,” he said.
Surprisingly, Bayne’s win didn’t land the team a full-time sponsor. Good Sam RV Club and Camping World have joined the foray for a few races, but he’s been unable to race a full season.
“I don’t really think we struck while the iron was hot as good as we could have,” Bayne said. “I think we definitely could have taken more advantage of (the win) and done better at taking in some sponsors. To some extent, we kind of laid back a little bit too much and expected it to come in instead of going after it on the marketing side. I think we can still take advantage of it and still gain sponsorship.”
Bayne knows the days of drivers gaining sponsors solely on talent or wins have fallen by the wayside. Today’s drivers have to be clean-cut, charismatic pitchmen when they’re not in the racecar, so they can attract companies’ attention.
If they win races, but aren’t seen as marketable, the sponsors don’t come knocking. Sometimes, Bayne said, you can be both and still come up short when seeking sponsorship.
Driving for two teams is another challenge for Bayne. Wood Brothers partners with Roush-Fenway, but his efforts for both teams mean he’s trying to attract sponsors for both at the same time.
With the new racecar, the Gen 6 chassis, things should open up for Bayne this year at Daytona.
“This is by far the most change we’ve had from one season to the next,” said Donnie Wingo, Bayne’s crew chief, in a press release.
Despite the change, Bayne says his objectives are the same – win races and win sponsors – and he is looking forward to Daytona.
“It’ll be good to get that rhythm and chemistry going,” he said.