OXFORD — Trevor Bayne just wants to race.
Competing only part-time on the Sprint Cup and Nationwide circuits has made for quite a few open weekends for the 2011 Daytona 500 winner. When the TD Bank 250 was looking for a marquee name to race this weekend, Bayne didn't hesitate.
"Any seat time is good seat time to me, no matter where you're racing," said Bayne, who got the call when another prospective driver had to back out of plans to race in Maine on Sunday.
"I've run one Late Model stock race in my life, and that was at Myrtle Beach Speedway when I was like 15 or 16," he said. "I don't have much experience at all with them, but I just wanted to come out here and go racing. I'm not racing as much as I'd like to be in Nationwide and Cup. So any chance I get to go to a local race or a big race like this, it's a lot of fun."
Bayne arrived in Maine around 3 a.m. Saturday. He had an autograph session in the morning, and then practice at Oxford Plains Speedway most of the afternoon.
"What I heard was that most of the Cup guys just showed up on Sunday and raced," Bayne said. "They might have tested before. I wanted to definitely come here today and practice. Any time you race, you want to run as good as possible. So I wanted to be here all day."
Bayne last raced in a Sprint Cup race a few weeks ago at Daytona. He's running a limited Sprint Cup and Nationwide schedule, driving for Roush-Fenway Racing on a part-time basis.
"It's tough, you want to be at the track every single weekend," said Bayne. "You want to be out there running for a championship. You want to be the guy winning races. It's hard to run as good when you're running part-time. For me, it's about experience. You get better the more you race and for me being a young guy who doesn't have many laps on the track, I want to be at the track all the time."
Years ago, he said, a win in the Daytona 500 likely would have earned him a full-time ride and a great deal more security than he has now, but times have changed. He says he expects to be running full-time next year, either in Sprint Cup or on the Nationwide series.
For now, he's hoping for a good showing in the 250. He has one Nationwide race and eight Sprint Cup races left on his schedule.
Bayne will be racing in a new car provided by Kendall Roberts. From Barre, Vermont, Roberts put Brad Keselowski in one of his cars when he raced in the 250 in 2010. Roberts had been putting together a new spare car when OPS owner Bill Ryan called.
"At the time, the car was semi-done," said Roberts. "It put a lot of pressure on us, but I wasn't going to turn him down. Bill is a hell of a nice guy, and I'm glad he gave me the opportunity to do this for him."
Bayne was pleased to work with someone like Roberts, who had prepared a car for someone before. It made the preparation easier, and when he arrived Saturday, the focus was on working out the kinks.
"I feel like we're competitive," said Bayne. "We're trying to make some progress, but it's definitely hard when I'm not as used to it."
Bayne was still trying to adjust to the car and the track Saturday. He was getting a lot of help from teammate John Donahue, who drove for Roberts with Keselowski in 2010.
"He feels the car is fairly stable," said Roberts. "We're trying to find that little extra."
Roberts said the 21-year old Bayne has been great to work with and has shown knowledge well beyond his years.
"He's really easy to talk to," Roberts said. "He's very informed. He knows where the car is tight or loose and what you need to work on. He can tell you right where it is tight or loose."
Bayne showed he wasn't afraid to get right into the thick of the adjustments, often sticking his nose into the engine and crawling underneath the chassis.
"None of the other guys that have driven for me have gotten under to look things over with me," said Roberts. "He's gotten underneath there with me and looked things over. Some of his suggestions were way better than mine."
Though Bayne is a Knoxville, Tenn., native, his Roush-Fenway affiliation may give him a little hometown credibility with New England fans.
"I got to throw out the first pitch about a month ago at a Red Sox game," Bayne said. "That was nice. I made it to home plate. He didn't have to move."