NASCAR veteran rumored to return to Joe Gibbs Racing

Trevor Bayne, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Trevor Bayne, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Trevor Bayne has yet to compete in the 2023 NASCAR season, but he is rumored to be making a return to Joe Gibbs Racing at some point in the near future.

2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne got arguably his best career NASCAR opportunity last year in competitive equipment, landing a nine-race deal to drive the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series.

Bayne secured five top five finishes, including two season-high runner-up results, behind the wheel of the “star car” throughout the 2022 season, and his results played a huge rule in the No. 18 team’s advancement to the round of 8 of the owner playoffs.

His results were better than those of Sammy Smith, the young driver who took over the ride full-time in 2023. Both drivers led the team with nine “star car” starts a year ago.

While some called for Bayne to compete full-time behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota this year, with Brandon Jones having left for JR Motorsports, the team opted to make the No. 19 car their new “star car”, and Bayne is not among the five drivers who have gotten the opportunity to drive it through the first 17 races of the 2023 season.

However, Trevor Bayne could very well become the sixth driver of Joe Gibbs Racing’s “star car” during the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.

There are still eight races on the 2023 schedule for which Joe Gibbs Racing have not confirmed a No. 19 Toyota, and Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank have hinted a sponsorship agreement that would see the Knoxville native return to the NASCAR circuit later this year.

SouthEast Bank posted three pictures on Instagram of Bayne wearing a SouthEast Bank shirt at Joe Gibbs Racing’s shop working on a Toyota Supra, and they stated that “something’s coming next week,” meaning this week.

Bayne replied, “I’m here for it!”

The remaining oval races on the schedule for which Joe Gibbs Racing have not yet confirmed a driver for the No. 19 Toyota include those at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 5; Daytona International Speedway on Friday, August 25; Darlington Raceway on Saturday, September 2; Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, September 15; Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 23; and Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, October 21.

The remaining road course races for which the team still need a driver include those at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Saturday, August 12 and Watkins Glen International on Saturday, August 19.

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The five drivers of Joe Gibbs Racing’s “star car” so far this season include Myatt Snider, Joe Graf Jr. Ryan Truex, Connor Mosack, and rookie Cup Series driver Ty Gibbs, the reigning Xfinity Series champion.