Trevor Bayne is back in a national NASCAR series. He has announced that he will join Joe Gibbs Racing for seven starts in the No. 18 Toyota Supra during the 2022 Xfinity Series season.
Bayne announced the news while serving as a guest analyst on “NASCAR Race Hub.” He revealed that he is the mystery driver that Joe Gibbs Racing teased on February 8 and that he will kick off his season on February 26 with the Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway. He will have support from Devotion Nutrition.
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Jason Ratcliff will serve as the crew chief of the No. 18 Toyota Supra, which should run full-time. JGR revealed in the press release that it will provide information about additional drivers and sponsors at a later date.
“Returning to NASCAR with Devotion Nutrition and Joe Gibbs Racing is beyond huge for me,” Bayne said in a press release from JGR. “Devotion is a super passionate family run business with a mission to help people live a healthy lifestyle. Their passion is something I certainly relate to. Over the past three years I didn’t know if I’d ever get an opportunity to race for wins again, but my desire to do so never faded.
“I’m so excited to have this opportunity to work with Jason (Ratcliff) and everyone at JGR. I want nothing more than to come back stronger than ever and put that Devotion Nutrition GR Supra into victory lane.”
Bayne will tentatively join two other drivers during the 2022 Xfinity Series. JGR has confirmed that Brandon Jones will return to the No. 19 Toyota Supra for another full-time run. The expectation is that Ty Gibbs will also run full-time in either the No. 54 or No. 20 Toyota, but the team has not officially provided confirmation.
Bayne’s Schedule Includes a Return to Nashville
JGR provided Bayne’s full schedule after the announcement on “NASCAR Race Hub.” He will return to the No. 18 Toyota at Phoenix Raceway (March 12), Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28), Nashville Superspeedway (June 25), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 16), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (October 15), and Homestead-Miami Speedway (October 22).
Prior to the 2021 season, the Xfinity Series had not competed at Nashville Superspeedway since the 2011 season. This meant that many of the drivers did not have experience at the 1.33-mile track.
The situation will be different for Bayne as he heads to the track outside of Lebanon, Tenn. He has five previous starts at Nashville Superspeedway, split between Michael Waltrip Racing and Roush Fenway Racing, with two top-10 finishes. His final start at Nashville was a ninth-place run in 2011, proving that he could contend for strong finishes at the Tennessee track.
Bayne Last Competed During the 2020 Season
The Knoxville native has extensive experience across all three national series. He made 187 starts in the Cup Series, 152 in the Xfinity Series, and eight in the Truck Series while winning a combined three races. Though he hasn’t made any starts since the 2020 season.
One of the biggest moments of Bayne’s career took place during the 2011 season. He suited up for the Daytona 500, his second-ever start in the Cup Series, and he won after leading a total of six laps. Bayne was the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500, and he joined a prestigious list of drivers that have taken Wood Brothers Racing to Victory Lane. This list includes Glen Wood, Speedy Thompson, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, and AJ Foyt among others.
Bayne spent nine seasons at NASCAR’s top level, including three full-time with Roush Fenway Racing, but he only reached Victory Lane one time. He ultimately lost his seat at RFR after a 2018 season in which the team had him share the No. 6 with Matt Kenseth.
Bayne remained out of NASCAR until the 2020 season due to sponsorship issues, but he returned on a limited schedule. He joined Niece Motorsports for the final eight races of the year. He posted two top-10 finishes, including a runner-up at Talladega Superspeedway.
Bayne will now make his return to the Xfinity Series for the first time since the 2016 season. He made one start for Roush Fenway Racing and finished fifth overall at Watkins Glen International in the No. 60.
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