CORNELIUS, N.C. — Saturday night’s race at Kentucky Speedway is the second of three consecutive stand-alone races for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. If history matters, racing at Kentucky Speedway could be a good thing for 19-year-old Trevor Bayne. The 1.5-mile oval has a history of giving young drivers their first career victory. David Gilliland (2006), Stephen Leicht (2007) and Joey Logano (2008) each earned their first career victories at Kentucky.
Bayne, the youngest fulltime NNS driver, has shown speed of late posting two top-five (Charlotte and Nashville) and four top-10 starting qualifying efforts. Like most talented young drivers, Bayne owns only 28 career starts, he’s working on translating that speed into good finishes. Bayne will pilot the No. 99 Aaron’s Toyota for the Jerry Baxter-led Diamond-Waltrip Racing team. Aaron’s (six races) and OUT! Pet Care (16 races) will serve as primary sponsors for the team’s remaining 2010 races.
BAYNE ON THE SEASON TO DATE: “Our season to date has been a roller coaster. They need to put us in Disney’s theme park there so we can be the best ride of the place because we’ve been so up and down. One week we’ll have a great run and something will happen at the very end. Every race has been a roller coaster, not just the season itself. We’ll be so fast or qualify so good and then something happens to take us out of it. We’re looking to turn that around and just finish these races, even if it’s 10th, it’s still a finish because we get in a situation at the end of races where we shouldn’t be and things happen. To be that high in the points (eighth) after some of the things we’ve gone through is still pretty awesome. Getting OUT! Pet Care on board with Aaron’s has been a big step for our team and you can see the motivation in the guys, it’s just different. They know we’re good to go and we don’t have to worry about these other 18 races this year that aren’t funded, we can just go out to the track and do our thing and not worry about it. That relieves a lot of pressure for myself too because I can just go out and race now. I can just go do my thing. Ty Norris (general manager) Gary Bechtel (team owner) and Michael Waltrip, they can just go work on the race team and focus on the components instead of having to chase all the sponsorship they were having to do before. I’m sure they’ll still be on top of their game on that, but this just relieves us some more. I think we’re getting ready to turn it around here.”
KENTUCKY AS A PLACE FOR FIRST TIME WINNERS: “I think all the stand-alone events are a place for a first time winner. However, I think it puts more pressure on the team because this is our chance to shine and turn it around and get momentum going. Not having the Cup guys here is a big chance to break into the top-three. It’s definitely an advantage for us when the Cup guys aren’t here. I think this is one of our best shots of the year to grab a good finish or at least get that momentum going so this team knows what it feels like to finish on a high note. I think once we can get some momentum good finishes will start compounding on each other. You get one top-five and you know you can do this, it builds motivation and the team gets behind you and good thing start happening.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
- Diamond-Waltrip Racing is owned by Gary and Blake Bechtel along with Michael Waltrip Racing. It fields Toyota Camry's 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.
- This weekend marks the second of four “Dash 4 Cash” races sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, where full-time/part-time and limited schedule series-only driver along with full-time double-duty drivers have the opportunity to pocket an extra $25,000 with a win. Otherwise, the pot rolls over to the next “Dash 4 Cash” event, July 31 at Iowa.
- Bayne continues to remain consistent in his qualifying efforts over his first 28 starts. Over his short career the Knoxville, Tenn., native has grabbed a pole (Indianapolis), six top-five and 16 top-10 starting positions. He boasts a 12.3 starting average and has only started eight races outside the top 15.
- Aaron’s, proud sponsor of the No. 99, will give away an autographed hat to a lucky race fan through Facebook and Twitter following any top-10 finish. Follow Aaron’s on Twitter (@aaronssports) and become a fan on Facebook (Facebook.com/AaronsSports)
- Bayne will sign autographs at the Aaron’s display 6:15-6:30 p.m. Saturday in the track’s FanZone