Trevor Bayne Set to Make Sprint Cup Debut at Texas
When 19-year-old Trevor Bayne drives onto Texas Motor Speedway for qualifying for the Texas 500, it will not only be his Sprint Cup debut, but he will add his name to an elite list of drivers who have driven the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. Bayne, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., will join the likes of David Pearson, A.J. Foyt, Cale Yarborough, Curtis Turner and Glen Wood - the team founder - who also made his first Cup start in the family’s familiar No. 21 at Martinsville, Va., in 1953.
“It seems a little surreal right now, but it’s just an awesome opportunity to get in this No. 21 Ford,” Bayne said. “The Wood Brothers have such a history in the sport, and it’s great to get to become a small part of that.
“I look forward to going out and making some laps and learning a ton. I know it’s going to be a big learning experience, and I’m just really looking forward to it and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity.”
Bayne, like many young drivers over the years who have gotten the opportunity to go Cup racing, found himself in a position where the stars somehow lined up just right for him.
He signed with Roush Fenway Racing just a few weeks ago. Not long afterward, the Wood Brothers suddenly found themselves without a crew chief. They turned to their old friend and fellow Ford team owner Jack Roush, who agreed to send veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo their way.
As Roush had originally planned to run Bayne at Texas, with Wingo as his crew chief, the logical move was to have Bayne make his Cup debut in the Wood’s No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion.
“This is the best scenario for everyone involved,” said Eddie Wood, co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing.
Bayne’s start at Texas means the Wood Brothers’ regular driver Bill Elliott will step aside for the weekend and mentor the young driver. Elliott said he will be at the track to offer Bayne any assistance he can. Elliott, who will return to the No. 21 for the season finale at Homestead, said he’s glad to be a team player at Texas.
“I’m ready to do anything I can to help Trevor with the race,” said Elliott.
Bayne comes to the Wood Brothers with impressive credentials. He started racing in go-karts at age five, before advancing to Allison Legacy cars. He then moved on to the Hooters Pro Cup Series, before entering into NASCAR’s developmental series.
But where the personable, media-savvy youngster has really excelled, is in his year and a half in the Nationwide Series. In just 47 career starts, he has five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes along with four poles. He’s seventh in the current Nationwide Series standings.
But like most young aspiring drivers, his ultimate goal is to be racing on the elite Sprint Cup circuit.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Bayne added. “I’ve been looking forward to it pretty much my whole life; since I was five years old I’ve dreamed of running a Cup race. Now it’s not just a dream anymore, it’s becoming a reality.”
Qualifying for the Texas 500 is set for 4:40 p.m. EDT on Friday, Nov. 5. The 500 begins on Sunday. Nov. 7, at 3 p.m. EST with TV coverage live on ESPN.