Bayne looks for win to cap whirlwind week
June 08, 2013, Brad Norman, NASCAR.com
NEWTON, IOWA -- Trevor Bayne doesn’t do things conventionally.
The 22-year-old, after all, won the Daytona 500 as a part-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver two years ago. A career pinnacle for most, Bayne is now working his way through the Nationwide Series to get back there someday.
So maybe that explains why he got married on a Tuesday in the middle of a racing season, then brought his wife of three days to Iowa Speedway for the DuPont Pioneer 250 (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
“Getting married at 22 is neat,” a grinning Bayne told media members Friday afternoon following the first of two Nationwide Series practices. “We had a great wedding and now she’s here hanging out with me in Iowa. She’s a trooper and understands that sometimes in racing you have to make sacrifices.
“Cornfields aren’t normally where you’d want to go on a honeymoon.”
Maybe not, but the fact that Bayne got married during the season and missed no time at the track speaks to another measure of his personality -- dedication.
The honeymoon phase isn’t over yet between Bayne and his new No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing team, either. Although the driver is 10th in the standings with 321 points -- 90 behind leader Regan Smith -- he's coming off consecutive top-10 finishes entering the series’ first standalone event of the 2013 season.
The No. 6 team plans to follow the same blueprint it did the past two weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway to bring home a third consecutive top-10 at Iowa’s .875-mile oval.
“To get a good finish, we just have to have everything go smooth, like we did at Charlotte, like we did at Dover,” Bayne said. “We just can’t have any weird stuff happen, and I think we’ll be able to finish well.”
Finishing well has been a sore spot for Bayne in his three previous races at the speedway. Starting well has not.
In all three attempts at Iowa in the Nationwide Series, Bayne has started in the top five every time; that includes winning the pole for the 2010 race. He finished fifth in that event, but it’s the only time he’s placed in the top 20. Bayne had tire and pit-road issues when he qualified fourth in 2009 and second in 2011, leading to finishes of 26th and 25th, respectively.
Something that well certainly help Bayne -- as well asprovide a bit of pressure -- is driving the No. 6 Ford. Not only did Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drive that car the past two years, winning two championships, but the now full-time Sprint Cup driver had great success at Iowa. Stenhouse won three races in a row at one point, sweeping the 2011 events and winning last year’s summer race. He placed fifth when the series returned in the fall, giving him an average finish of 2.0 over his final four races here.
“Any time you get to hop into a successful car, you have to be really happy,” said Bayne while spinning the new, too-big piece of jewelry on his left ring finger. “This team has won with the car that we’re going to run (Friday and Saturday), we’re using the same (setup). It’s a good feeling.”
His week full of good feelings, there’s one more thing that could cap Bayne’s whirlwind journey on Saturday. With wife Ashton looking on, the No. 6 could be among the leaders when the white flag drops.
So, Trevor, do you think it’s possible to end this week with a win?
“I do,” Bayne said.