Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne appears set to remain focused on winning the Nationwide Series title, turning down an eventual chance to contend for a berth in the Chase for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series.
The 20-year-old entered the season opener as the first of a planned 17-race schedule in NASCAR's top series with Wood Brothers Racing, the legendary outfit only having funding for those events. Following the win at Daytona, the team has added the sixth event of the season at Martinsville to its schedule, but further additions rely on sponsorship.
Besides his deal with Wood Brothers, Bayne is signed to contest his second full season in the Nationwide Series with Roush Fenway Racing, where he currently ranks fifth in the points. NASCAR rules for this year restrict drivers racing in more than one national series to contending for one title only, although they can compete in as many races as they wish all across NASCAR. The rule is aimed at allowing young drivers to have a shot at the championship, as Cup drivers have dominated the Nationwide Series in the past few years.
Bayne selected running for the Nationwide Series title this year and although NASCAR would allow him to change his mind and start scoring points for the Sprint Cup series from next weekend at Phoenix, his Daytona win would not count toward his points tally. However, his win would count in terms of eventually being eligible to make the Chase, as this year the two drivers with the most wins not in the top 10 in points after the first 26 races earn a place in the championship playoff.
Despite all this, plus having no sponsor for his Nationwide Series car, Bayne says he remains committed to his initial plan.
"I think I'm going to stay with Nationwide," said Bayne. "I think it's a great thing they're doing for the sport, for the young drivers there, to be able to rise up as champions. Nothing really changed. The only thing that changed is we get to be the Daytona 500 champions, which is really, really incredible.
"I think we're still going to have an awesome year at Roush Fenway running for that Nationwide championship. Obviously they still have a blank car. I'd love to get some partners on it. As for now, we're still running full-time.
"The Wood Brothers only have 18 races, 17 with Ford Motorcraft, and Quick Lane and Ford.com. But the 18th race is the one we're going to run at Martinsville due to the funds we won at Daytona.
"I'm still not full-time Cup, still going to run for the championship at Nationwide. I don't regret any of our decisions there. We're still off to a great start in both series with a win in the first."
• For an extended full Q & A with Trevor Bayne, click here