Jack Roush has a knack for spotting drivers who may one day make it as stars in NASCAR's premier series. The two drivers running full time in the 2013 Nationwide series for Roush Fenway Racing could not be more different.
Trevor Bayne became the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 in 2011. The upcoming season will see him behind the wheel of the No. 6 Ford, formerly driven by two-time Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Travis Pastrana has dipped his toe in the second-tier series of NASCAR periodically during the last two years, but he will drive the full schedule for RFR as the driver of the No. 60 Ford.
Bayne, 21, is a clean-cut, well-spoken young man from Knoxville, Tenn. The recently engaged driver is outspoken about his Christian faith and travels on missions to Mexico with Back2Back Ministries.
Pastrana, 29, is the wild-child superstar of the X Games with motocross and rally car championships. His personality is unfiltered with one never sure what he might say or do. Calling him an extrovert might be too subtle.
The daredevil, Pastrana, has a tremendous Twitter following, and the younger demographics sought by NASCAR are familar with his popular brand Nitro Circus that includes television and big screen.
Pastrana stated, "I am very serious about making this move, running competitively and ultimately winning races in NASCAR.
He added, "No team can claim the success in the Nationwide Series that Roush Fenway has, and I know driving an RFR Ford will provide me with the maximum opportunity to develop my skills behind the wheel of a stock car."
Roush stated, "Travis is a champion. It takes a great deal of drive and determination to reach that level of greatness in any field. We would certainly expect to see a great level of excitement brought to the table as he progresses within our sport."
Roush's No. 60 boasts more NASCAR Nationwide wins than any other car in the series with 90 wins by drivers like Mark Martin, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. Driving the 60 car sets the bar high for Pastrana.
Bayne will be partnered with crew chief Mike Kelley for the No. 6 Ford. Pastrana will have Chad Norris as the crew chief for the No. 60 team.
Bayne said, "I'm really excited about the opportunity to work with Mike and this team and run for Nationwide Series Championship in 2013."
Roush has two drivers, each very popular for different reasons. Both of these Nationwide drivers have the potential to do very well in the series.
Bayne has run more than 30 Cup races with the Daytona 500 win and two other top-10 finishes. He has a Nationwide win and 30 top 10s. His experience with Cup can only be a positive for him in the lower series.
Pastrana has only made nine starts in the Nationwide series with a best finish of 13th. He made a start with the No. 60 RFR Ford at the fall race in Richmond.
Pastrana knows what it takes to be a winner, and now with his focus on the great opportunity he has at Roush Fenway Racing, we should see him making solid improvements in his finishes.
The youth and exuberance that is coming into the second-tier series of NASCAR promises some exciting racing, but the pairing of drivers at RFR may well be the odd couple of all the teams.
All quotes courtesy of official press release from Roush Fenway Racing.
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