The Frontstretch: No Bull: Bayne's Win Was Big For NASCAR... Now What? by Nick Bromberg -- Tuesday February 22, 2011

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No Bull: Bayne's Win Was Big For NASCAR... Now What?

Nick Bromberg · Tuesday February 22, 2011


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 Trevor 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.

Trevor Bayne pulled off one of the greatest upsets in NASCAR history. But before you get carried away with excitement… remember, he’s only scheduled to be absent from at least half of the Sprint Cup races.

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 percent increase is nice, but so was the lack of a pothole.)

But the key word in that paragraph is the word “could.” It’s not a “would” and it’s far from a “will.” For every Kyle Busch, there’s a Casey Atwood.

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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Tuesday on the Frontstretch:
5 Points to Ponder: Pit Problems, Waltrip Must Go, And Ethics Run Amok?
Who’s Hot / Not In NASCAR: Daytona 500 Edition
Crime Scene Investigation: Denny Hamlin Looking To Bury Phoenix Hatchet
Talking NASCAR TV: Audio, Post-Race Issues Plague ESPN And FOX

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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Carl D.
02/22/2011 08:01 AM

I don’t understand all the talk of Bayne’s win helping Nascar in the ratings or restoring it’s level of credibility. It was an incredible win and a great feel-good story. Now we will move on to Phoenix, and the topics of conversation will return to Johnson’s drive-for-six, Junior’s chances of winning, and New-Kyle vs. Old-Kyle Busch. If the races this season are exciting and competitive, that will be the shot in the arm that Nascar needs.

Probably the best thing that could happen to Trevor Bayne right now, long-term, are some mediocre finishes in the next few cup races to get the attention off of him so that he can focus on his Nationwide season. The cup deal with the Wood Brothers is still primarily a learning opportunity for him, despite his incredible win Sunday.

02/22/2011 09:05 AM

I think a reason we’re all excited is that the sport has really produced a new true star since Hamlin in 2006. Logano doesn’t count to this point because he’s won 1 Cup race* (rain aided). It shows how broken driver development is. The sport will really get some life back when drivers like Bayne, Logano, Allghier etc. make it to Cup and succeed. I hope Bayne switches to Cup so there is a real Rookie of the Year this year.

02/22/2011 01:39 PM

The only people saying that Trevor Bayne is the next superstar are members of the media who need something to write. He very much deserved the win Sunday, he earned it and no one can ever take it away from him, but there’s no way he can compete week in and week out over the course of his first season. One race does not a champion make. Just ask Derrick Cope or Ward Burton. Or even Mr. Me-Me-Me, M. Waltrip. He won I believe only four races, all of them plate races, all of them in superior equipment, and he couldn’t get even get close enough to sniff a championship. I think Bayne will be a contender but not this year. As far as the media applauding the win, what of it? A 20 year old in his second race, a surprise winner for a historic team that almost everyone had given up on and you couldn’t see why members of the press would applaud? Man, Nick, you need more appreciation for the history of the sport you’re paid to cover.

02/23/2011 08:53 PM

“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.”

That’s not correct. The Harry Ranier team was extremely competitive in the ’80s winning several races a year with Cale Yarborough and remained part-time through 1987 (Davey Allison’s rookie season) before going full-time in 1988 the year before Robert Yates bought the team.

Good article otherwise.