Tag:Trevor Bayne
Posted on: February 25, 2012 1:48 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 5:02 pm

2012 Daytona 500 predictions

Daytona 500 Winner

Pete Pistone's pick

Kyle Busch -- I’ve been coming to Daytona since I was a kid and watching NASCAR racing pretty much my entire life. Never have I seen a display like the one Kyle Busch put on in Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout, saving his car three different times when it was completely sideways and somehow coming back from that shower of sparks to win the race. Say what you want about his personality or his behavior but it’s impossible to argue that Busch is one of the most talented drivers the sport has ever seen. He is very determined to put the controversy of last year behind and focus on winning races and the Sprint Cup championship in 2012. That quest begins this weekend and Busch will get the year off on the highest of notes with a win in “The Great American Race.”

Brian De Los Santos' pick

Carl Edwards -- I could really name just about any driver from the Roush Fenway camp as they've been very impressive during Speedweeks. Its drivers have been at or near the top of the speed charts during most practices, Edwards and his teammate Greg Biffle were top 2 in qualifying and third teammate Kenseth won Gatorade Duel 2, an event Biffle led for a race-high 40 laps. But while championships may elude Edwards, the Daytona 500 might just land in his lap. If Edwards can pull it off, he'd be the 18th pole-sitter to win the 500 and the first since Dale Jarrett in 2000.

Dark Horse

Pete Pistone's pick

Marcos Ambrose -- The entire Ford contingent has been fast at Daytona since it rolled off the haulers at the start of Speedweeks. Ambrose is among those who have stayed near the top of speed chart in practice sessions and the Richard Petty Motorsports driver also factored into both the Budweiser Shootout and Gatorade Duel outcomes. The popular Australian feels at home in NASCAR after finding his way the last few seasons and many believe he’ll win his first oval track race in 2012 in addition to being a powerhouse on the road courses. That victory could come on Sunday with Ambrose giving his fans both in the U.S. as well as “down under” something to celebrate.

Brian De Los Santos' pick

Trevor Bayne -- The defending Daytona 500 champion as a darkhorse? I may be stretching this a bit, but I haven't heard anybody giving him much of a chance to repeat. He's been decent during Speedweeks, but remains somewhat of an afterthought behind the Cup regulars. He's flying under the radar, but has the car to pull of the win again. At the very least, you can say he has experience winning NASCAR's biggest race. How wild would it be if Bayne were to make it 2 for 2 in the Daytona 500?

Surprise Top 10

Pete Pistone's pick

Dave Blaney -- The former World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion had a guaranteed starting spot in the Daytona 500 thanks to his finish inside the Top 35 last year. But after team owner Tommy Baldwin worked out an agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing to transfer those points to Danica Patrick, Blaney had to race his way into the 500 in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel. Last season the underdog turned a lot of heads with stellar restrictor plate track performances at both Daytona and Talladega so Blaney has skills in the draft. He may also have a little extra motivation as well on Sunday after the off-season points maneuvering and despite being a David against the Goliaths of the series; a finish inside the first ten is not out of the question.

Brian De Los Santos' pick

Aric Almirola -- It's easy to forget that Almirola is the newest driver of the No. 43 car, replacing A.J. Allmendinger, who jumped to Penske Racing to fill the No. 22 seat vacated by Kurt Busch. He definitely has speed as he topped the fourth practice session and was second in the fifth session. Another driver with Ford power under the hood, don't be surprised to see him running near the front on Sunday.

Quick picks

  Pistone De Los Santos
Better Busch brother finish Kyle Kurt
Will Danica finish on lead lap No No
Over/Under Caution Flags (8) Under Under
Over/Under Caution Laps (25) Over Over
Over/Under Leaders (20) Over Under
Over/Under Lead Changes (50) Under Over

Daytona Speedweeks

Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:00 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 2:03 pm

Bayne brings back Daytona beach memories

By Pete Pistone

  2011 Daytona 500 Champion Trevor Bayne Drives

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Defending Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne took a drive down memory lane Friday with a trip around the historic beach course that preceded the Daytona International Speedway.

Bayne piloted the iconic Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford from a portion of the old beach course through the streets of Daytona Beach before delivering the green flag to be used in next Sunday's Daytona 500 to DIS.

"This is probably the coolest thing I've gotten to do outside of actually racing on other tracks," Bayne said. "This is an unbelievable feeling, being on the beach where it all started. This is history right here. I almost want to bottle up the sand and take it with me because this is where it started for Daytona. This is where it started for NASCAR.

"Being in the No. 21 car here, I feel like I'm part of history." 
More than half of the temporary track was sand, a pair of turns and a long strip of beach linked to Route A1A’s pavement. It was unique to say the least but ultimately drew tens of thousands of post-war race fans to Central Florida before Speedweeks was shifted a few miles northwest to Daytona International Speedway in 1959.

"It was just like a dirt track," said NASCAR Hall of Fame member Glen Wood, who won three sportsman races on the beach and finished 11th in his only NASCAR premier series start in 1957. "The turns were like a half-mile track – one bank to the other."  
Bayne drove his No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford over a section of the beach course to the track’s former north turn. Following a press conference, Bayne went on to the speedway.
  Racing began on a 3.2-mile course in 1936. Daytona Beach racer Sig Haugdahl promoted the first two events, which weren’t commercially successful. City officials gave promotional rights to Bill France, who wore both a promoter’s hat and a competitor’s helmet – and with the latter won the Labor Day event in 1938 and a July race the following year.

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:00 pm

Daytona repeat on Trevor Bayne's mind

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Defending Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne is under the spotlight this season as the young driver tries to follow-up his Cinderella win a year ago with a repeat trip to victory lane in "The Great American Race."

Bayne was one of the main attractions of Thursday's annual Daytona 500 Media Day and said the Wood Brothers team has its sights set squarely on a second straight 500 victory.

"That’s the plan," Bayne said. "We wouldn’t have come if we didn’t think we could win.  There’s a little bit more pressure this year.  We’re not exactly flying under the radar, but I think we can go for it, that’s for sure.” 

After his breakthrough season last year that also included his first career Nationwide Series win at Texas Motor Speedway, Bayne tries to take his career to the next level. He'll have the same basic Sprint Cup program with the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford and a limited schedule of approximately 15 races.

He has more confidence then he did this time twelve months ago and is still basking in what was accomplished in 2011.

“It’s hard to follow up, you know?  It’s crazy because last year when I came here I was so under the radar," Bayne said.  "I didn’t expect any of this.  I just came in as a guy that had been running Nationwide and had a great opportunity to run with an awesome team, so here I am at Daytona, driving in with my truck.  I qualified third and I remember looking at that podium in the center of the track all weekend long like, ‘How cool would that be to finish third,’ and they were talking about the winnings and just how awesome a top-three would be, and then we win the thing.

I’m driving out and I remember looking at that thing and seeing the 21 at the top of the board and the crazy feeling that was, but I don’t think it even sunk in – like the whole Victory Lane thing.  I’m just bouncing around everywhere and the next day I’m on the plane and I look down and I see that ring and I almost teared up because I’m like, ‘Man, this is real.’  It’s not something you wake up from and go on the next day, so I’m excited to be back here this year.  I’m trying to get back to that same mindset of just appreciating being here to begin with, but you do want to back that up and you do want to win and do all those things again, so, hopefully, we have a better insight of what our goal is.” 

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 7:08 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 7:11 pm

Trevor Bayne back with Wood Brothers

By Pete Pistone

Image Detail
(Bayne will shoot for a second straight Daytona 500 victory for the Wood Brothers next month)

Last season's Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne will get another opportunity to bring the iconic Wood Brothers Racing Ford back to victory lane in "The Great American Race."

Bayne signed a deal to return to the No. 21 Ford in 2012 for what is expected to be a 17 race deal with sponsorship in place for about a dozen events.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s a big deal for me. It’s what I had hoped for. We’re all excited to be back together.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood was relieved to have everything in place to bring Bayne back to his family-owned team.

“It’s taken a long time to get to this announcement, but it’s good to be back together,” Wood said. 

“We all wanted to do what was best for Ford Motor Company and its young drivers, and to be sure everybody had a place to race.”

For Bayne, one of the younger drivers in the Sprint Cup Series, driving for the sport’s longest running team is something he appreciates even more as time goes by.

He was made even more aware of the team’s history and heritage – and its long-standing relationship with Ford Motor Company – when he watched a video on the team’s history at the company Christmas party.

“There’s no question at all that since the beginning, the Woods and Ford were going to stick with each other,” he said. “The Woods are such a great racing family, and it’s amazing that they’re the only one of the original teams that has survived since the beginning.”

This year's trip to daytona promises to be a challenge with a new rules package in place that will get its first test during next week's Preseason Thunder session at the "World Center of Racing."

“It’s going to be very different at Daytona,” Bayne said, referring to a rule change that will block off air to the car’s radiator and thereby limit the two-car tandem racing that Bayne so quickly adapted to. “It’ll be like starting all over again, but that’s OK.

“We’ll just go try to do it again.”

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 11:38 am

Book to focus on Trevor Bayne's career

Posted by Pete Pistone

After winning the Daytona 500 in 2011, twenty-year-old Trevor Bayne became a role model for NASCAR fans everywhere. Now you can read his inspiring story in the new biography, "Driven by Faith: The Trevor Bayne Story" (Zonderkidz; $6.99; January 2012) by award-winning Motorsports journalist Godwin Kelly. The youngest winner ever of the Daytona 500, Bayne candidly shares the story of his faith-driven racing career with NASCAR enthusiast Kelly. Kelly's undeniable love of the sport shines through as he details each crowning moment of Bayne's young lifehow the child attached to his toy cars went on to win three WKA national and world championships, and NASCAR's highest honor, the Daytona 500. 

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: November 28, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 5:28 pm

2011: biggest surprises and disappointments

By Pete Pistone

Image Detail
(Keselowski's Pocono win driving with a broken ankle helped bring the No. 2 team closer together)

The 2011 Sprint Cup Series season is in the rear view mirror and as always there were several surprises along the way both of the good and bad variety.

Here’s a look at those who exceeded expectations this past season as well as those who would rather erase their 2011 effort from the memory bank:

Biggest Surprises

Brad Keselowski

The Penske Racing driver enjoyed a banner season that will be remembered as his NASCAR coming out party. Not only did Keselowski excel behind the wheel he also became one of the garage area’s “go to” guys, not afraid to speak his mind and always ready to give a candid assessment of any situation. Granted that philosophy got him into hot water recently when NASCAR fined Keselowski $25,000 for his criticism of the new electronic fuel system, but don’t expect the incident to completely change his ways. His winning performance at Pocono driving to victory lane with a broken ankle and other injuries suffered in a testing crash at Road Atlanta only days earlier cemented the cohesiveness of the "Blue Deuce" squad. Keselowski raced his way into the Chase as a wild card with three wins in the regular season as his ticket and although wasn’t able to mount a serious threat for the championship, proved he belongs in future conversations about title contenders.

Trevor Bayne

His storybook win in the Daytona 500 to start the year is the stuff of legends and Bayne kicked down the door of stardom with his stirring win in “The Great American Race.” Unfortunately he was derailed from following his dream by a mysterious illness that knocked Bayne from the sport for nearly three months and set back his development. But once he returned to the full-time Nationwide Series ride with Roush Fenway Racing as well as his limited Cup Series slate for the Wood Brothers, Bayne once again demonstrated why he’s considered one of the brightest young talents in the sport. His first career Nationwide win at Texas was every bit as impressive as the Daytona victory. However Bayne now faces the challenge of the economic pressures of the sport and how that will impact his 2012 plans in both divisions. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

This time a year ago Earnhardt Jr.’s Sprint Cup career was in a shambles. He had just completed a miserable 2010 season that saw him finish 21<sup>st</sup> in the point standings and score only three top five finishes all season long. But then team owner Rick Hendrick installed Steve Letarte as Junior’s crew chief in a shake up of the Hendrick Motorsports organization and almost instantly the improvement began. Earnhardt started the season running more competitively than since he first joined Hendrick in 2008 and came very close to finally snapping his three-year winless streak. Although he leveled off later in the campaign, Earnhardt made the Chase and finished seventh in the final standings with four top five and twelve top ten finishes to his credit. More importantly was the new sense of enthusiasm and confidence instilled in Earnhardt and the feeling more success was right around the corner.


Biggest Disappointments

Kyle Busch

This was supposed to be the year that Busch finally broke to the next level of his Sprint Cup career and not only challenge for a championship but win one. He rattled off a series-leading four wins in the regular season and entered the Chase as the number one seed. And then as has been his pattern in past playoff runs things fell apart only this time they did so in spectacular fashion punctuated by Busch’s Camping World Truck Series altercation with Ron Hornaday in Texas. NASCAR parked Busch for the remainder of the weekend, only the third time in more than a decade the sanctioning body sat a driver out of a Cup race for disciplinary actions, and his promising 2011 season ended in a controversial thud. Despite all of his success and more than 100 career wins across NASCAR’s top three divisions, Busch enters next year at a definite crossroads. 

Jamie McMurray

His three big wins of 2010 put McMurray near the top of many people’s list of drivers to make the Chase this season and perhaps contend for the title. But the entire Earnhardt Ganassi Racing organization including teammate Juan Pablo Montoya seemed completely off its game this year and McMurray finished 27<sup>th</sup> in the final standings. He had only a pair of top five finishes all season long and looked nowhere near the same driver who won the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 the previous campaign. 

Joey Logano

The expiration date of waiting for Logano to finally fulfill the lofty promise he brought with him to NASCAR’s top series is closing in. After ending the 2010 season on a torrid pace Logano seemed ready to take it up a notch this year and at least punch a ticket into the Chase lineup. But he got off to a bad start and never was able to recover from a series of disappointments and challenges including the Joe Gibbs Racing team’s engine woes. There was some speculation mid-season that JGR was courting free agent Carl Edwards to join the organization and move Logano either to the Nationwide Series or out completely. In the end Edwards stayed at Roush Fenway and Logano remains in the No. 20 ride – for now.

 For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @PPistone on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 1:14 pm

Idle Thoughts: Can plate racing be fixed?

By Pete Pistone

  Clint Bowyer, Driver Of The #33 Chevy 100 Years Chevrolet, Leads
(For many the advent of the two-car tandem has negatively impacted racing at Talladega and Daytona)

Controversy and Talladega Superspeedway have been married to one another since the sprawling track was born back in 1969. 

Driver boycotts, lightning fast speeds, horrific crashes and since it debuted in 1987, restrictor plate racing, have kept Talladega in the headlines pretty much on an annual basis every NASCAR season. 

The latest chapter in the track’s stormy history was written on Sunday, but this one might not be very easy to brush off.

There was a distinct distaste in the air during and after the Good Sam Club 500 that more than likely will linger for some time – or at least until the tandem style of racing disappears. 

Which doesn’t appear to be anytime soon. 

While some drivers, crew chiefs and fans do like this next evolution of restrictor plate racing, they seem to be in the minority.

There’s a lot more opposition to the phenomenon and that’s even resonating with the sanctioning body itself.

NASCAR vice president of operations Steve O’Donnell took to his Twitter account after Sunday’s race to offer this assessment of the final plate race of the season: "Know we have work to do on superspeedway [racing] and we'll certainly stay after it.'' 

The response isn’t surprising when some of the sport’s biggest names have spoken out about their distaste for what has become of the racing at both Talladega and Daytona.

“Yea, bored,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who brought the crowd to its feet when he got to the lead for a lap before filing back to hook up with Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson as a drafting partner. “I'd rather race up in there and try to lead laps and do whatever but it's really not my style of racing. Being pushed and carrying on all day long. Trying to lead a couple of laps that are sort of meaningless really doesn't make a lot of sense either.” 

Even though all drivers understand the benefit of hooking up in the nose-to-tail formation and how it’s now become a necessary part of the equation, the practice is still not universally accepted. 

“From the driver’s seat, I’m not a big fan of it,” said Matt Kenseth. “There’s just not a lot we can do about it, unless the cars or the rules or something changes. There’s not really anything you’re going to do about it because it’s so much faster, but driving I’m not a real big fan of it.” 

Watching drivers ride around for three plus hours in two car pods until all try to make a mad dash to the checkered flag isn’t winning over many fans either. While Sunday’s crowd was announced at over 100,000, it was hard not to notice the chunks of unused grandstand areas around the at one time jam packed Talladega Superspeedway. 

"Most of them will say to us, 'It was kind of neat at first, but I'd really like to see what I used to see, which is the big packs,' " Talladega president Grant Lynch told The Roanoke Times of customer reaction he’s heard on the pairs racing. "I like that probably better myself.'' 

The strategy of hanging in the back of the field for the majority of the event and then making a move for the lead in the latter stages of the race has also come under fire. 

Fans pay to see drivers “race,” something that is not being done when they drop anchor at the drop of the green flag and simply go on a Sunday drive for most of the afternoon. It goes against what the sport is supposed to be about and that is to get to the front as fast as possible and stay there. 

The perception of the head to the rear philosophy is that drivers simply are not trying. Strategy or not, the idea is something fans don’t want to watch and its understandable if some who bought a ticket for Sunday’s race or watched on television felt cheated by the experience. 

The tandem racing also brought into light another major hot button topic over the weekend regarding team orders and drivers being told who they had to race with and weren’t able to help. 

Now it’s not the first time since the advent of plate racing that we’ve heard drivers accuse one another of reneging on deals to draft when it came down to nitty gritty time. 

The very nature of racing at Talladega has always been about wheeling and dealing and being on the lookout for drafting partners. More often than not those alliances disappear when the checkered flag comes into sight. 

But the process has seemingly become much more premeditated today with individual race teams and manufacturers dictating who their drivers can and cannot work with in the draft. 

It came to a head when Trevor Bayne agreed to run with Jeff Gordon in the closing laps only to bail in favor of Ford stable mate Kenseth. 

Bayne said he was the victim of being caught in the middle while his team co-owner Eddie Wood reiterated there wasn’t any pre-race plan in place for Ford drivers only to work with fellow Blue Oval mates.

And Jack Roush, despite the official Ford Racing website stating otherwise, vehemently denied any such plan was in place with a statement of his own. 

The bottom line is manufacturers and teams do dictate how drivers behave on the race track putting the men behind the wheel in compromising situations that certainly have an impact on winning or losing. 

So the laundry list of what’s wrong with restrictor plate racing today definitely outweighs what’s right, which is an odd statement in light of Clint Bowyer edging Jeff Burton by .017-seconds to win Sunday’s race.

However while the finishes of recent Daytona and Talladega races have been close and exciting, the journey to get there is fraught with troubles.

But what can be done to address these issues and “fix” the problems? 

Good question.

"You have to be very careful because the cure could be way worse than the disease," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition. "We're here to make things as even as we can across the board but we do understand that the likelihood of [two-car drafts] gaining popularity is not there.''

Pemberton is probably right, but that’s not a comforting answer to thousands of unsatisfied race fans in the aftermath of Sunday’s trip to Talladega.

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @ppistone on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:36 am

Jack Roush says no "team orders" for Talladega

Posted by Pete Pistone

Team owner Jack Roush issued a statement Tuesday morning denying he gave any kind of "team orders" prior to the weekend's race at Talladega:

Oct. 25, 2011- Statement from Jack Roush, co-owner Roush Fenway Racing regarding Sunday’s Sprint Cup Race at Talladega:

“At Roush Fenway Racing we expect our individual drivers to make decisions that put themselves in the best position to win each and every race. That is a philosophy that we have lived by for over two decades, and one that we will continue to abide by going forward. 

"Of course, as in any team, we would prefer for our drivers to work together when possible. However, to be clear, we did not micromanage or dictate to any of our drivers, nor any other Ford drivers, how to race with other drivers at Talladega last Sunday.  There are unique codes that all drivers establish and have to live by on the track.  How they manage their code is up to our drivers as individuals. This weekend, there were no team orders, from myself or anyone at Roush Fenway, given to any of our drivers as to whom they could or could not choose to run with or assist, nor did I give similar directions or suggestion to any of the other Ford drivers.

“I’ve spoken with Trevor (Bayne) and understand that he was put in a situation requiring a split-second decision on the track and in his response to questions justifying his actions afterwards, where it was almost certain that not everyone was going to be satisfied.  Trevor is extremely talented, but it is still very early in his career. Over time he will grow to understand that in such a high-paced, competitive and hostile environment it is unlikely that all of his decisions will make everyone happy. I’m confident in his decision making, his ability and actions on the track, and I'm excited as we continue to move forward with his development."


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