When NASCAR showed up at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Roush Fenway Racing announced that Trevor Bayne would join the organization in a full-time Sprint Cup Series entry in 2015.
Headed back Charlotte for this Saturday night’s Bank of America 500, Bayne is in the news again — this time because he’s making his Sprint Cup debut with RFR this weekend.
Bayne, who is running the full Nationwide Series schedule for RFR this season in addition to his part-time Cup ride with the Wood Brothers, is listed as driver of the No. 6 RFR Ford on the entry list released by NASCAR for Saturday night’s Cup race. Veteran RFR crew chief Bob Osborne will call the shots atop Bayne’s pit box at Charlotte.
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Bayne, however, is not locked into the field for Saturday night’s race and must make the show based on time during Thursday night’s three-round qualifying session.
It is not known if Bayne will enter more Cup events for the organization this season, but this one comes as no surprise, since team president Steve Newmark indicated in May that RFR would look to get Bayne in a Cup car before the end of 2014.
Bayne has competed for Roush Fenway in the Nationwide Series in a combination of part-time and full-time roles since late 2010 while racing part time for the Wood Brothers in the Sprint Cup Series since 2011. Bayne’s current Nationwide Series sponsor, AdvoCare, is moving with him to the Sprint Cup Series and will be aboard the No. 6 on Saturday night and for the entire 2015 season.
"I am very excited to be behind the wheel of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion this weekend," said Bayne. "The No. 6 is such a legendary number to both the sport and this company. To be able to say that I am one of a handful of drivers to race this number in the Cup series is a huge honor. I can’t wait to get to Charlotte."
The No. 6, campaigned by veteran Mark Martin at RFR from 1988-2006 and later raced by David Ragan, has not been used regularly in the Sprint Cup Series the past few seasons.
It was announced in late July that Martin, whose driving days appear to be over, has rejoined RFR as a driver development coach and will work with Bayne and others next season.
"I’m both excited and humbled to be a part of bringing the No. 6 back to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," said Bayne in May after being introduced as the team’s newest Sprint Cup driver. "And to be able to make that move with AdvoCare makes it that much more special. They are a true partner that aligns with my foundation and core values in every way. I know the history of the No. 6 and what it means to Jack (Roush) and the entire Roush Fenway organization and our goal is to continue to add to its rich legacy in the sport."
Bayne’s Cup debut with RFR will come almost four years after becoming the sport’s youngest Daytona 500 winner at 20 years and 1 day old. Bayne’s victory in the 2011 edition of the sport’s biggest race came with the Wood Brothers, in just his second career Sprint Cup start.
Bayne is obviously eager to take the next step in his career, having waited longer than expected for a full-time Sprint Cup Series opportunity following his historic Daytona 500 triumph.
"We’ve been through a lot of ups-and-downs, but (RFR co-owner Jack Roush) and his organization from day one has said our goal was to get to Sprint Cup," Bayne said in May. "We always wondered when that day was gonna be. There were times when it felt like things were moving really fast and times where we had to really bite down and be patient."
Bayne is one of four RFR drivers entered for Saturday night’s race, but will be one of just three RFR Cup drivers next year when Carl Edwards leaves the company for Joe Gibbs Racing.