In the wake of the biggest NASCAR news of the past week, Trevor Bayne is dealing with disappointment.
The announcement that veteran Matt Kenseth would return to Roush Fenway Racing for select races in the No. 6 Ford means that Bayne will have to share his ride for the rest of the season. When Kenseth gets behind the wheel at Kansas two weeks from now, Bayne will be on the sidelines.
Behind his team transporter at Talladega Superspeedway, Bayne addressed the dramatic change in the plans for the No. 6 car. Bayne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013, but he said categorically on Friday that health issues had nothing to do with the addition of Kenseth to the program.
“I wanted to get you all together to let you know that, first of all, my health is 100 percent,” said Bayne, who did not take questions from reporters after his statement. “I am as fit physically, mentally and spiritually as I have ever been to do my job well.
“The second part is that my desire is still as it has always been since I was five-years-old, to come to the track every weekend to contend for wins and championships and be a driver at the top level in the Cup Series. Nothing there has changed. I am still going to pursue that, because I feel I have the ability to do that.”
Roush Fenway believes Kenseth can help identify areas where the teams of Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. can improve performance. Bayne is currently 26th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings with a season-best finish of 12th at Texas.
Bayne’s only victory at NASCAR’s highest level came in his second career start – in the 2011 Daytona 500, but the ride-sharing situation with Kenseth hasn’t blunted his determination.
“I am here to win Talladega, as I had planned to do before any of this,” Bayne said. “That’s what I’m going to do.”
Clearly, though, Bayne now has a bit more motivation to fulfill that prophecy.