Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne will not race this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
His Roush Fenway Racing teammates Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Matt Kenseth will fill in for him in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series activities.
Barring any unforeseen circumstance, Bayne will return to NASCAR Nationwide Series competition with Roush Fenway for the June 4 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Bayne was originally scheduled to compete in both the Sprint Cup (with Wood Brothers Racing) and Nationwide races this weekend, but has been withheld as a precautionary measure.
Bayne’s Nationwide Series teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will drive the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 in the attempt to make the field for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. Former Sprint Cup Series champion Kenseth will fill in for Bayne in the Nationwide Series.
If he qualifies, Sunday’s 600-mile event will be Stenhouse’s first Cup race. However, he will be familiar with several of his on-track rivals. This past Sunday, he held off Cup stars Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski to win at Iowa Speedway. He also often races against Cup veterans like Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano in the Nationwide Series.
“Obviously it’s not the circumstances that you want to make your first Sprint Cup start,” said Stenhouse. “But you grow up dreaming about this moment and I am excited and grateful for the opportunity; to not only make my first start, but to be able to drive the No. 21 Ford of the Wood Brothers in one of the biggest races of the season."
Bayne has been sidelined by a mystery illness, originally believed to have resulted from complications from an insect bite, since late April. He has missed four scheduled Nationwide Series starts for Roush Fenway Racing. With the Wood Brothers running a partial schedule in the Cup ranks, this will be the first points race in which the team will use another driver.
“By all standards Trevor had a great week,” Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark said in a news release. “His symptoms have completely subsided. He tested at Virginia International Raceway on Tuesday, had one of the fastest Nationwide Series cars on the racetrack and his team was extremely pleased with his progress. As a result, we plan to have him back in competition next week in Chicago, and have consulted with his doctors at the Mayo Clinic and the NASCAR medical staff about that timetable.
“Of course, Trevor is a competitor and he wanted to be back on the racetrack this weekend. However, we feel it is in his best interest for us to exercise an abundance of caution with this matter and withhold him from racing this weekend; especially considering the length of the races and the fact that Trevor is just starting to get back into his daily routine. Although Trevor would have preferred to compete in all 900 miles this weekend, he respects and understands our decision and will shift his considerable focus to his return at Chicagoland next weekend.”
Bayne was scheduled to compete in last Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race, but missed that race as well, with him sidelined the Wood Brothers opted to skip the event altogether.