CORNELIUS, N.C. -- When Trevor Bayne visited Bristol Motor Speedway in March his goal was to log laps and finish the race. When the Knoxville native fires up his No. 99 OUT! Pet Care Toyota in Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide race he'll be ...
CORNELIUS, N.C. -- When Trevor Bayne visited Bristol Motor Speedway in March his goal was to log laps and finish the race. When the Knoxville native fires up his No. 99 OUT! Pet Care Toyota in Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide race he'll be disappointed with any finish outside the top five. That's a measure of the progress made by the 19-year-old Diamond-Waltrip Racing driver in his first full season in the series. Only two drivers have scored more points than Bayne over the last five races and no Nationwide only driver has outscored Bayne. During those five races Bayne owns three poles, three top-five, four top-15 finishes and led 95 laps.
TREVOR BAYNE ON THE PAST FIVE RACES: "We've had a lot of success the past month or two. I think Jerry Baxter (crew chief) and I are really starting to gel. We have been able to bring really fast race cars to the track each week. We have been able to unload really fast so we aren't spending all practice chasing our tails. I also think it helps that we are starting to go back to tracks that I have raced on before. I know what I need in the car to run up front. It's been really cool to race against some of the veterans of the sport lately. I think I have started to prove myself to them and they are starting to show me some respect."
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION AT BRISTOL? "Track position is huge at Bristol. Before they repaved the track you stayed single-file and had room to move or bump people out of the way. Now when they're two and three wide, you can get shuffled out in a hurry. We need to qualify well. That will help us stay out of all the havoc that happens in the middle of the pack. They race like maniacs in the back of the pack. You can go a lap down pretty quick at Bristol so you really want to stay with the leaders and stay out of trouble."
NOTES OF INTEREST
* Diamond-Waltrip Racing is owned by Gary and Blake Bechtel along with Michael Waltrip Racing. It fields Toyota Camrys out of the MWR shop in Cornelius, N.C. The Bechtels have owned cars in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series since 1990. The Morgan Hill, California residents' teams have visited victory lane 10 times in the Nationwide Series.
* In the last five races, Bayne has led 95 laps -- third most of any driver in the series and the most of any NASCAR Nationwide Series only driver (See Sidebar). He is one of four NNS only drivers (Allgaier-- 2, Braun-- 1, Leffler-- 1) to lead laps over the last five races.
* Bayne started 26th and finished 23rd in his first career NNS start at Bristol in March 2009.
* The 19-year-old driver is no rookie to BMS. He has six career starts at the .533-mile oval with his best finish of third coming behind the wheel of a USAR Pro Cup Series car in 2007. Additionally, in 2006, Bayne led the USAR field with 15 laps remaining but finished outside the top 20 after a spin.
* Bayne owns 38 NNS starts. He has four poles (Indianapolis --2009, 2010, Gateway--2010 and Iowa 2010), four top-fives and eight top-10s and has led 129 laps. His best finish (third) came at Gateway International Raceway on July 17.
* The Knoxville native will sign autographs at the Food City Race Night. He will be at the Knoxville Expo Center on Wednesday 6--8 p.m. The Diamond-Waltrip driver will also be at State Street in Bristol on Thursday 5--6 p.m.