What Roush Racing’s Rollback Means for Trevor Bayne and Travis Pastrana

By Michael Guzman
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jack Roush, Greg Biffle
Randy Sartin-USA Today Sports

In a turn of events reported by USA Today‘s Nate Ryan, we got an inside look into the life of Roush-Fenway team owner Jack Roush and exactly what life is like for the man who owns of the NASCAR’s most successful teams.

Unsurprisingly, Roush revealed he has begun to slowly move away from Roush-Fenway’s daily operations, an unsettling thought for some of his NASCAR Nationwide Series and Grand-AM drivers.

Roush’s passion for motorsports is second to none. Through the money made from his engineering company, The Cat in The Hat has been able to still put out unsponsored race cars in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series.

If the Fenway Group takes full control of Roush Racing, it would be hard to believe that barely or non-profitable operations will be allowed to exist like they do now purely for racing and driver development.

For Trevor Bayne, Travis Pastrana, Chris Buescher and Billy Johnson, the success of their respective racing careers are now in jeopardy. Although there is no indication into the Fenway Group’s future, any future without Roush in it would likely lead to more downsizing.

Buescher is the driver with the most to lose if this happens. He would likely go first, despite arguably having the highest ceiling of Roush’s three Nationwide Series drivers. The ARCA champion has been impressive this year in Nationwide Series competition, scoring two top-10 finishes at Bristol and Michigan, two vastly different tracks.

Losing the 20-year old Buescher to a rival team could end up being a devastating consider what a future asset he could be.

Next on the chopping block would more than likely be Pastrana. Financially, Pastrana is a disaster. His performances have shown traits of a driver that can compete in the increasingly competitive Nationwide Series level. As a race car driver, he too often commits the cardinal sin of wrecking an unsponsored race car. A 25 percent DNF rate will not do, despite the plethora of personal sponsors that he brings to the table.

This leaves Bayne, a driver who may or may not have reached his ceiling. Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are all locked up for the meantime, leaving Bayne out. But in a few years when Edwards and Biffle’s contracts are up, Bayne could have proven he is ready to drive for the team.

He has been quietly successful for a limited Wood Brothers Racing operation since capturing an upset Daytona 500 victory in 2011. He has four top-20 finishes with the team this season, impressive considering the level of equipment the Wood Brothers has.

Of course, things could play out differently. That’s the beauty of both NASCAR and a competitive open market. The writing on the wall regarding Roush’s imminent departure from the inner workings of the sport got a bit bolder today. It should be interesting to see how events transpire and which driver may be left without a ride in a few years.

Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486

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