Tough news for Trevor Bayne: a lack of sponsorship will sideline him for this weekend's Nationwide race in Texas, despite the fact that he's currently fourth in the standings.
Roush-Fenway officials said they'd run Bayne in the No. 60 in the first five races of the year in an attempt to get him some sponsor notice, but despite three top-10 finishes, it was no dice. Bayne will still run in the Sprint Cup race driving the No. 21 for Wood Brothers.
However, Roush officials were quick to note that the 60 is not closed down, and if any money was available for sponsorship (phone lines now open!) Bayne would be brought back on board at a moment's notice.
So why the trouble funding a guy who's won the Daytona 500 and is, by all accounts, a clean-cut sponsor's dream? Blame the biggest spenders at the Sprint Cup level. When major players like UPS and Best Buy cut back their investment from full- to partial-season sponsorships, that can open doors to other sponsors to take on "fill-in" races. Many sponsors are gambling that a partial-season sponsorship of a Sprint Cup level car is worth more than a full-season sponsorship of a Nationwide one, and given the disparity in exposure, it's tough to argue the point on its face.
None of which comes as any comfort to Bayne, however. Roush-Fenway still hopes to get him into 30 races this year to prep him for a Cup career.
And Bayne's not the only one without a ride; Kenny Wallace will step out of his car to let Ryan Truex, who brought along a sponsor, take the wheel. Wallace has won nine times and made more than 500 starts on the Nationwide level.
Tough times, all the way around.