The writing may have been on the wall for much of the year, but on Wednesday evening, Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush confirmed Trevor Bayne will not return to the team for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
“We’re in negotiations with drivers right now that would drive the 6 car next year,” Roush stated in an interview with SiriuxXM host Claire B. Lang. “I think the decision’s been made. I don’t want to be breaking the story here, but I think the decision’s been made and it’s been announced that Trevor’s not going to be in the car next year.”
Bayne has been driving RFR’s #6 car since 2015, but lost his full-time spot in the ride in the spring of 2018 after the first 11 races. Matt Kenseth, a longtime member of the Roush team, returned to Cup racing in May on a 14-race schedule. This effectively rendered Bayne as a part-time driver. In the five races since, he has a best finish of eleventh at his latest start at Bristol Motor Speedway in August; it is also his highest finish in 2018.
The Roush development driver entered the Cup Series with Wood Brothers Racing, stunning the NASCAR world when he won in only his second Cup start at the 2011 Daytona 500. Besides a DNQ at the 2014 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he spent 2011 through 2014 in WBR’s #21 before permanently moving to Roush’s #6 starting in 2015. In three full seasons since, he has 11 top tens, four top fives, a best finish of third at the 2016 Coke Zero 400 and 2017 Alabama 500, and two consecutive twenty-second-place points finishes.
His successor for 2019 has not been announced, though Kenseth remains a possibility. In ten races so far in 2018, the 2003 champion has yet to record a top ten, but scored his best finish of the year in Monday’s Big Machine Vodka 400, during which he also won a stage en route to a twelfth-place run. On Tuesday, Adam Stern tweeted Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman is also a potential candidate for the #6. Newman is currently seventeenth in the points standings. Should Roush decide to use its farm teams, Ryan Reed would be in the picture as the lone full-time driver for the team’s Xfinity Series program; Reed made his Cup debut for Roush at Talladega Superspeedway in 2016, finishing twenty-sixth.
“Who we’re talking to and how close we are in those negotiations, I’m not inclined to say, but based on the fact that we are negotiating,” Roush commented. When asked by Lang what type of driver he would prefer to have, he simply said, “I want a driver who can be fast. Be fast and win.”