Trevor Bayne takes Nationwide pole at Daytona

jutter@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 22, 2013 

— Trevor Bayne has waited two years for this chance.

There’s no better way to start than out front.

Bayne will start Saturday’s Drive4CPOD 300 at Daytona International Speedway from the pole as he begins what will be his first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Bayne won the Daytona 500 in 2011 and planned to run a Nationwide schedule but was sidelined by an illness that turned out to be Lyme disease.

Since then, Bayne has run partial schedules in both Nationwide and Sprint Cup for Roush Fenway Racing and the Wood Brothers.

“It’s great to be a part of this group of guys. They are the ones that deserve the honor,” said Bayne, who is driving for the same No. 6 team at RFR that won the Nationwide title the past two seasons with driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

“We certainly have started off with a bang here with a pole. It’s not a win yet, but it will do.”

Bayne turned a lap at 177.162 mph to claim his sixth pole in the series. Sam Hornish, Jr., qualified second, Parker Kligerman third, Travis Pastrana fourth and Austin Dillon fifth.

Bayne is also entered in Sunday’s Daytona 500, once again driving for the Wood Brothers.

“I can’t thank my team for giving me this opportunity this week,” Bayne said. “Jack Roush has given me the chance to win a championship and I intend to make the most of it.”

Media pick Johnson to win title: Jimmie Johnson was the overwhelming pick by NASCAR media members to win the 2013 Cup series championship in a poll on NASCARMedia.com. Johnson has qualified for the Chase in each of his nine Cup seasons and won five straight titles from 2006 to 2010.

Kyle Busch was picked to finish second. Rounding out the top 12: Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne.

The media also picked Austin Dillon to win the Nationwide Series championship and James Buescher to repeat as Truck series champion.

Dillon adds to schedule: With the assistance of sponsor American Ethanol, Austin Dillon has added two more races to his 2013 schedule.

Dillon, who is running fulltime in the Nationwide Series, will run the June 16 Cup race at Michigan International Speedway and the July 24 Truck series race at Eldora Speedway, both with Richard Childress Racing.

Stewart picks up sponsor: Tony Stewart, who entered Speedweeks still lacking sponsorship for nine Cup races on his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing entry, announced Friday he has added a primary sponsor, Rush Truck Centers, for three of the races.

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