Finding someone who wasn’t happy or excited about Trevor Bayne‘s Daytona 500 win on Sunday is probably harder than finding a shirtless picture of Carl Edwards with fat covering his abs.
Hell, even the media center applauded the win. (Which, to be honest, was totally inappropriate and is another subject for another rant)
Anyhow, this is all Bayne’s dream and we’re just living in it. But since Bayne’s dream is our reality, let’s hold off on calling him the next NASCAR superstar.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Bayne’s win was fantastic for the sport – in the short-term, at least – and could be the jolt that NASCAR needs to get the ratings back up to where they were in 2007 and 2008. (Please discard the ratings for Sunday’s race. The 17% increase is nice, but so was the lack of a pothole.)
What happens when Bayne doesn’t compete on the Sprint Cup circuit? As of now, the Wood Brothers have added Martinsville to a limited schedule, upping their total number of races this season to 18. Bayne will run the first seven, sure but could possibly only run 11 of the next 29. Where will his momentum go? True, the last part-time team to truly be competitive on a regular basis in NASCAR was the Wood Brothers, but that was back in the 1970s. You really think a part-time team – no matter the history – is going to compete with Hendrick and Richard Childress Racing even in Roush Fenway equipment?
With that said, if Bayne and the Wood Brothers did get funding that allowed them to run the full Sprint Cup Series season, then they should go for it and have Bayne declare for the season title. While we have no idea how this new points system is really going to work, on the surface, it seems easier to make up a race or two’s worth of points and by making the switch now, Bayne would be starting the season with zero – just two back of Kevin Harvick.
But according to every indication from NASCAR, Bayne would be allowed to keep the win from Daytona. That means it could help get Bayne into the Chase if he was in the top 20, as long as he was able to get another win or two along the way.
Now, if Bayne runs a full season, will all of that happen? Very doubtful, though it didn’t take the 500 to know that he had a bright future in the sport. He was one of the preseason favorites for the Nationwide Series title and impressed in his limited showings with Diamond-Waltrip Racing and Roush over there: in 50 races, he already has four poles against a number of stout Cup competitors crossing over. But Cup? Dominant? Now? That smacks of the words “too soon.”
So will Bayne be challenging Joey Logano for the Sprint Cup title for the next 20 years? He very well could. But to assume that he will is foolish and unfair to him. He deserves the crown of the Daytona 500 champion on his head – but not the weight of the NASCAR world on his shoulders.
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