Amanda Vincent, NASCAR correspondent
When NASCAR car owner Jack Roush announced during the 2011-2012 off-season that he'd have to cut back efforts for his Roush Fenway Racing organization in some areas as a result of difficulty in finding sufficient sponsorship, Trevor Bayne, one of RFR's Nationwide Series competitors looked to be one of the victims of the cutbacks.
When Carl Edwards opted out of competing in the Nationwide Series in 2012, Bayne inherited the No. 60 RFR Ford, and his former No. 16 Ford ride was eliminated. Still, Bayne's Nationwide Series 2012 schedule wasn't expected to be a complete one. And for that matter, it still isn't.
We want to run for a championship, and this opportunity gets us that much closer to our goal.
Bayne wasn't even expected to keep going following the third race of the season. That third race was the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Saturday. Even after that race ended, there didn't seem to be much hope for Bayne to have a Nationwide ride the following weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
As NNS teams packed up to leave Las Vegas, expectations were that Bayne's Nationwide efforts were put on pause, effective immediately.
Bayne, though, didn't give up hope. Bristol is, after all, the home track for the Knoxville, Ten., native. He couldn't miss Bristol. He said after the Las Vegas race that he wasn't going to give up hope until race day at Bristol.
Early in the week, there were still no indications that Bayne's No. 60 team would make the trip to Bristol. Good news finally, publicly arrived on Wednesday, via a race preview press release from Roush Fenway Racing for Bayne and the No. 60 team, previewing Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300.
"I am so thankful to be running at Bristol," Bayne said.
There was no indication of a sponsor on the release, but Bayne's going to be at Bristol and behind the wheel of the No. 60 on Saturday, nonetheless. Maybe Roush just didn't have the heart to take Bayne out of the car right before the circuit headed to the driver's home track. Maybe the fact that Bayne heads into the race fourth in championship points, 19 points behind leader Elliott Sadler, had something to do with it.
"For us to be as competitive as we are this early in the season with limited help is a huge lift for our entire racing program," Bayne said. "It's a testament to all the people working hard at Roush Fenway Racing." We want to run for a championship, and this opportunity gets us that much closer to our goal."
Whatever the reason, Bayne has a ride at Bristol that his friends, family and home crowd fans can cheer on.
"We want to run for a championship, and this opportunity gets us that much closer to our goal," Bayne said.