A lack of sponsorship forced Roush Fenway Racing to sideline Trevor Bayne for this week's race at Texas Motor Speedway, even though he's ranked fourth in the Nationwide Series standings.
Bayne went into the season knowing the organization could sit the No. 60 team at any time. Roush President Steve Newmark said Wednesday the organization had hoped to lure a sponsor by running Bayne in the first five races.
"We started the year with the idea we were going to run him and spur some additional interest. But at some point we knew it wasn't tenable to continue that program this year," Newmark said. "But it is not a reflection of our commitment to Trevor, and we fully expect him to be a mainstay at the (Sprint) Cup level for years to come."
Bayne is scheduled to race Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series race for the Wood Brothers, the team he drove for last year when he won the Daytona 500. It will be his third Cup start of the season; Texas is where he made his Cup debut in 2010.
Newmark said the No. 60 Ford is not shuttered, and if sponsorship becomes available, Bayne will resume racing in the Nationwide Series on a part-time basis. He leaves trailing series leader Elliott Sadler by 34 points, and with three top-10 finishes in the first five races.
Sponsorship issues have plagued the 21-year-old Bayne the last two years, even after his breakthrough Daytona victory. The Wood Brothers, a partner with Roush, could not attract a sponsor to run Bayne for the full Cup schedule last year or this season.
Newmark said the focus at Roush right now is selling races for 2013. Despite being one of NASCAR's elite organizations, the team has been hit hard by sponsorship cutbacks. Former series champion Matt Kenseth does not have full season sponsorship despite being tied for third in the Cup standings.
The cutback in spending by primary sponsor UPS caused Roush to suspend its No. 6 Cup program, and both Bayne and defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have been short on funding this year.