After moving from Diamond-Waltrip Racing to Roush Fenway Racing's Nationwide team before Kansas, Trevor Bayne will make his Sprint Cup debut at Texas.
Bayne joins a long list of drivers who have wheeled the venerable 21 ride over the past 57 years, which includes soon-to-be Hall of Famer David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Curtis Turner and A.J. Foyt.
“It seems a little surreal right now, but it’s just an awesome opportunity to get in this No. 21 Ford,” Bayne said. “The Wood Brothers have such a history in the sport, and it’s great to get to become a small part of that.
“I look forward to going out and making some laps and learning a ton. I know it’s going to be a big learning experience, and I’m just really looking forward to it, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity.”
The Wood Brothers have run a partial schedule with Bill Elliott, focusing primarily on intermediate tracks. And because of that, Bayne will have to qualify for the Texas race on time and won't even be in the field if qualifying is rained out.
It's hard to dispute that Bayne's done enough in his two Nationwide seasons to merit a shot at a Sprint Cup ride, but it's also hard to figure out where he fits in at Roush Fenway at the Cup level. Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth aren't going anywhere and it doesn't look like David Ragan is either, at least for 2011.
Richard Petty Motorsports would have been an intriguing possibility because of the relationship between the two organizations, but as we continue to find out, it's not inconceivable that the organization will cease to exist in 2011.
Bayne's Nationwide rookie classmate from 2009, Justin Allgaier, is still essentially a free agent. There are no guarantees that he will be back with Penske in 2011 due to sponsorship issues after Verizon announced that they wouldn't return to the Nationwide Series.