More prepared and patient, Trevor Bayne set for full-time Cup drive

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Trevor Bayne’s “A Star Is Born” moment at the 2011 Daytona 500 proved to be something else entirely.

Bayne shocked the NASCAR world with his victory for the Wood Brothers in that year’s Great American Race. While he ran with that team on a part-time basis in Sprint Cup for the next four seasons, a full-time Cup ride didn’t materialize.

Instead, Bayne’s main focus shifted to the Xfinity Series, where he raced the full 2013 and 2014 seasons for Roush Fenway Racing.

The 23-year-old Tennessee native will finally get the chance to compete every weekend at NASCAR’s top level this season in Roush Fenway Racing’s revived No. 6.

“It’s been a really wild last few years for me,” Bayne said during the recent NASCAR media tour in Charlotte. “To go from winning [the Daytona 500] and expecting to be full-time that season to going back to [Xfinity] part-time and part-time Cup, and then full-time [Xfinity], and now to be full-time Cup, it’s been wild.

“But what I can say is that I’ve had confidence that Jack Roush was a man of his word, and that at some point, I’d be driving his Sprint Cup cars full-time like he had promised. And now that opportunity’s come.”

The journey to a full-time Cup program may not have been what Bayne had pictured following his Daytona triumph, but he says the experiences he’s had in the last four years have not only made him more prepared but taught him patience.

“There were times where I’d call somebody that was close to me and be frustrated that I wasn’t running full-time Sprint Cup, and they would remind me of what I’ve been through,” he recalled. “I think 2011 probably aged me 10 years.

“But the last couple of years have been more mellow. I feel like they’ve been kind of in the middle. No extreme highs or lows, and that’s taught me a lot in how to handle that as well. Going into this season, I feel more well-rounded than I would have been in 2011 running full-time [then].”

Another good sign is that Bayne’s maintained his physical health after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in late 2013 (he’s mulling over a return to doing triathlons). With that, he’s putting full focus on developing a rapport with crew chief Bob Osborne and also helping Roush return to its winning ways after a couple of down years.

“We were reacting on a Monday to what happened on Sunday and just kind of shotgun-blasted ideas,” Bayne said of Roush Fenway Racing’s struggles in 2014. “What you do is you work really hard but you don’t make any ground. It’s like being in water and you feel like your drowning; you start paddling hard, but you sink. You have to take smooth, calculated strokes.

“I feel like that’s what we’re doing now. We’ve hired the right people, we’ve got the right talent with drivers, and I feel like now we can have a productive plan to go forward.”

What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been
Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 win didn’t send him on a path to superstardom. Instead, it marked the beginning of a four-year run that saw him jump regularly between the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series.

2011
Sprint Cup – 17 starts, 1 win, 1 top-5, 1 top-10 (Won Daytona 500)
Xfinity – 29 starts, 1 win (Texas), 5 top-5s, 14 top-10s

2012
Sprint Cup – 16 starts, 0 wins, 0 top-5s, 2 top-10s (Best finish of 8th, Talladega)
Xfinity – 6 starts, 0 wins, 1 top-5, 3 top-10s, 1 Pole (Best finish of 4th, Las Vegas)

2013
Sprint Cup – 12 starts, 0 wins, 0 top-5s, 0 top-10s (Best finish of 16th, Charlotte)
Xfinity – Full season: 1 win (Iowa), 7 top-5s, 21 top-10s, 1 Pole, 6th in Points

2014
Sprint Cup – 12 starts, 0 wins, 0 top-5s, 0 top-10s (Best finish of 19th, Texas and Michigan)
Xfinity – Full season: 0 wins, 5 top-5s, 21 top-10s, 1 Pole, 6th in Points (Best finish of 2nd, Dover and Chicago)

IMSA results, points, stats package after Sunday at Road America

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Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor delivered Team Penske’s first victory this season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, winning at Road America from the pole position Sunday and moving up to sixth in points after finishing no better than seventh in the first three races this season.

The Team Penske No. 7 Acura DPi led a race-high 48  of 63 laps, including the final four after Castroneves seized a restart to take first from Renger van der Zande, who finished second with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 10 Cadillac DPi.

Other class winners at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course were the No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 of Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley in LMP2, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in GTLM and the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 of Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo in GTD.

RAIN-SOAKED RELIEF: Castroneves delivers Penske’s first win with late pass

Here are the race stats, points and results from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America:


RESULTS: Click here for the overall finishing order and here for the class breakdown.

POINTS: In the DPi standings, the No. 10 Cadillac of Briscoe and van der Zande leads by six points (124-118) over the No. 5 Cadillac of Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais.

The No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor leads the GTLM standings with 130 points, 10 more than the No. 912 Porsche of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.

In GTD, the No. 12 Lexus of Bell and Montecalvo moved into the lead by four points (121-117) over AIM Vasser Sullivan teammates Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz in the No. 14 Lexus.

The No. 38 of Performance Tech Motorsport leads in LMP2.

Click here for the points standings for drivers and teams after Road America.

STATS PACKAGE FOR ROAD AMERICA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Leader sequence

Lap chart

Race analysis by lap

NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT classes will race Aug. 21-22 at Virginia International Raceway.