Trevor Bayne: 'It's Roush Fenway vs everyone else'
Trevor Bayne 2017 NASCAR Media Tour Press Conference
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ricky vs Trevor? Hardly.
With Roush Fenway Racing downsizing to just two full-time entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for 2017, Trevor Bayne knows it's pivotal the organization keeps up over the grind of a 36-race season.
Last year, that didn't happen. After coming out of the gates strong and flirting with a spot in NASCAR's playoffs during the first half of the season, Bayne's No. 6 began to fade out of contention during the summer months of 2016.
"I think we can learn a lot from last season. Last year, I think we kind of shocked ourselves and everyone when we came to Atlanta and got our car to qualify third and ran well," said Bayne, who finished 22nd in the final points standings. That performance early in the year shocked us a little bit. As the season went on, I feel we did not keep up the way we wanted to. What we have to learn is how do you stay as motivated and make the gains from Michigan to Homestead as you do in the offseason."
When Greg Biffle announced he was parting with RFR following the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it left the organization with just two teams for 2017. Bayne thinks that could be a blessing in disguise for keeping up with their rivals in the garage.
"It makes us more nimble and able to react faster," he said. "I think this will take us from being a month or six weeks out from finding some speed and getting in all the race cars to a couple weeks."
The Knoxville, Tennessee native says the organization is currently undergoing a culture shift that starts with better communication.
"I think Ricky and I have realized in the last couple of years it's not Ricky versus Trevor anymore," Bayne said, referencing an old promotion the team ran when both drivers competed in the Xfinity Series. "It's Roush Fenway versus everyone else."
"Super" Speedway Success
Fortunately for Bayne, the season starts at the home of his lone career Cup win: Daytona. Bayne became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history when he scored a huge upset with the Wood Brothers in 2011.
"We do know that Daytona is a great opportunity for us to go win a race," Bayne said. "What I believe in is the program that Jimmy Fennig has built in our superspeedway cars. That process of him being there and overseeing every car that goes to the race track at superspeedways has shown performance."
Superspeedways were good to Bayne in 2016. At the first Talladega race, he led 22 laps and finished 10th. When the Cup series returned to Daytona in July, he picked up a season-best third-place finish. Teammate Greg Biffle sat on the pole and finished in the top 10, while Ricky Stenhouse brought the team's third car home in the top five.
Bayne hopes that success at Daytona will lead to a motivated team that doesn't fall behind when the calendar hits the dog days of summer.
"It's easy to get pumped up to go to Daytona, but it's those summer months that we get to when you really find out what you're made out of and what you can accomplish the rest of the season."