On Wednesday, Roush/Fenway Racing announced that they have brought back Matt Kenseth to the team for select races during the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Kenseth, will split time with Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Ford for the remainder of the year. While that all sounds good in theory, the big question has to be asked, what happens if Bayne wins Sunday’s Geico 500 (2 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at the Talladega Superspeedway.
See, if Bayne wins, he’s now playoff eligible. But, if he wants to remain playoff eligible, he has to make an attempt to qualify for the remainder of the 2018 season. If you want to ask why Tony Stewart or Kyle Busch were each deemed eligible, it’s because they received a medical waiver. I highly doubt NASCAR will grant Bayne and RFR a waiver when he’s not injured and can race every week.
Would they really be willing to give up millions of dollars of revenue if Bayne wins? I mean look at how beneficial it was for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to win at Talladega last year. He ended up winning again at Daytona and after a good playoff run, he’s since secured three different sponsors to remain with him and his No. 17 Ford through 2021.
Making the playoffs has a big impact on sponsorships for teams. It’s guaranteed exposure for the team. After all, that’s part of the reason this move is being made. Bayne, hasn’t been running up front much, meaning it’s hard to attract sponsorships on a car not running towards the front. See, Bayne hasn’t won the 2011 Daytona 500. But, that could easily change this weekend.
Bayne, finished 13th in the season opening Daytona 500. He was third last Fall at Talladega. He was 10th in the 2017 Daytona 500 too. He was also third in the July race at Daytona in 2016. As you can see, Bayne’s best races are on plate tracks.
So, with how much of a lottery restrictor plate racing is, Bayne can easily take his No. 6 Ford to victory lane on Sunday afternoon on the 2.66-mile high banked superspeedway. If he does, what does the team do now?