Sitting on the sidelines for the last few weeks was a ‘confidence booster’, says Trevor Bayne.
Bayne admitted as much to Fox Sports 1 before opening practice at Sonoma Raceway – the first practice Bayne will participate in since Dover in early May. For the last five weeks, Bayne has been watching from the sideline as 2003 series champion Matt Kenseth drove the car.
“As hard as it’s been, it’s been really good for me to get an outside perspective,” Bayne told FS1. “To look at the data, to watch another driver drive your car and see what’s different or the same, and I think for me, it’s been a real confidence-booster. To watch four, five weeks and hear somebody say the same stuff, to drive the car really similar.
“It gives me a lot of direction and a lot of confidence to keep pushing the areas I’ve been pushing, driving the car the way I’ve been driving it, and I have learned some things. It’s been good, but tough. It’s never easy to be out of the car.”
In Kenseth’s five races his best finish was a 13th-place effort at Pocono Raceway. Bayne’s best result in the first 11 races he competed in was a 12th-place at Texas. The two will continue to split the car for the remainder of the season.
In addition to rejoining the field this weekend, Bayne will compete at Chicagoland Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. Kenseth had revealed during an appearance on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast that he had opted out of running the restrictor plate races.
Kenseth returns to the car on July 14 at Kentucky Speedway.
“I had a really good time with my family over the four weeks, making the most of it,” Bayne continued. “But I’d rather not have my summer vacations anymore for the next 10 years, so hopefully we’ll be in a race car.”