Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Len Wood says a decision will be made in the next few weeks about whether Trevor Bayne will return to the legendary #21 Sprint Cup Series Ford next season, or be replaced by current NASCAR Nationwide Series point leader Ricky Stenhouse.
Wood called this year’s Daytona 500 champion, “a pleasure to work with,” and said their upset win in the 2011 season opener energized the team’s fan base. “It brought us a bunch of new fans, and also got the older, 1960s and `70s-era fans pretty pumped up.” It did not, however, bring any additional sponsorship to the table, preventing the team from expanding its limited schedule of events. Wood said he expects to run a similar number of races next season, with “at least 12 and maybe as many as 18” events on the schedule. “If I tell you 12 (races) and it ends up being 18, that’s great,” he said. “Right now, though, I’ll just say 12.”
He said a decision on who will steer the #21 Ford next season will be made by Ford Motor Company and Roush Fenway Racing, which whom the Woods have a longstanding technical alliance. “We’ll probably have a conversation about that with (RFR President) Steve Newmark in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “We don’t necessarily need a decision right away, but more lead time is always better.” He added that Wood Brothers Racing is the perfect place for Roush and FoMoCo to groom young drivers, saying, “Running a part-time schedule like we do, if a kid creases up a few door panels, it’s not that big a deal.”