Trevor Bayne focused on winning as Roush Fenway Racing shakes up team dynamic with Matt Kenseth
Mike Hembree, USA TODAY Sports Published 1:19 p.m. ET April 27, 2018 | Updated 1:52 p.m. ET April 27, 2018
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Roush Fenway Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams assembled at Talladega Superspeedway Friday and began operating in a new environment.
The team announced Wednesday that former driver Matt Kenseth, who won the Cup Series championship in 2003, will return to RFR to share the team’s No. 6 car with Trevor Bayne. Kenseth is expected to help the team overcome problems and break out of a years-long slump.
Bayne will drive the No. 6 this weekend at Talladega and next week at Dover. Kenseth is scheduled to drive at Kansas Speedway May 12 and in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 19. Other races have not been announced.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will continue to drive RFR’s No. 17 Ford.
Talladega tradition: Expect the unexpected at NASCAR's biggest track
The most immediate impact of the change is on Bayne, who won the 2011 Daytona 500 while driving for the Wood Brothers team but has struggled across several seasons with Roush.
Bayne did not take questions Friday at the track but stood at the back of his team’s hauler and made a statement about the situation.
“My desire is still as it has always been since I was 5 years old – to come to the track every weekend to contend for wins and championships and be a driver at the top level in the Cup Series,” he said. “Nothing there has changed. I am still going to pursue that because I feel I have the ability to do that.
“Right now I don’t have much more to add to that. I want to respect your time, and I know you have a ton of questions after everything that has happened this week, but if you could just allow me to come into the garage and talk to my team and work through this weekend, I would love to have that opportunity. I am here to win Talladega as I had planned to do before any of this.”
Bayne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013, but he said Friday his health is “100 percent.”
The situation will be somewhat awkward for Bayne as Kenseth tries to boost RFR’s potential while also concentrating on trying to win races in a car Bayne has driven since 2015.
Stenhouse said he has discussed the new setup with Bayne.
“I told him just to keep his head down, go out and keep running races and prove to everybody that you have what it takes and don’t really listen to anything from the fans, media or other teams and just do your deal,” Stenhouse said.
Motorsports & Auto News
via Nascar Racing News, Photos, Stats, Scores, Schedule & Videos https://ift.tt/1qqIAdm
April 28, 2018 at 09:48PM