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Top 10 countdown: No. 6, Trevor Bayne

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Diamond-Waltrip Racing driver Trevor Bayne won the NASCAR Nationwide Series pole at O'Reilly Raceway Park in 2010. (Photo: Autostock)

By Lee Montgomery
lee.montgomery@nnsracing.com

Driver: Trevor Bayne

Team: Diamond-Waltrip Racing

Car: No. 99 Toyota

Crew chief: Jerry Baxter

Quick bio: Bayne could be the next superstar in the sport, as many believe he is the total package. Bayne, 18, is a talented driver with an ebullient personality to match. Once a Dale Earnhardt Inc. development driver, Bayne hooked up with former NASCAR team owner Gary Bechtel last year, leading to the formation of Diamond-Waltrip Racing for 2010.

Why he’ll finish sixth: Bayne displayed plenty of speed last year, winning a pole and qualifying in the top 10 10 times in his 15 races. Now, he needs to transfer that speed into learning how to race. Crew chief Baxter should be a good teacher in that regard.

Why he might finish higher: Bayne has a talented crew around him, from Baxter to engineer Todd Gordon to Michael Waltrip’s Sprint Cup operation. If things click right away, the teen-ager could contend with the Cup drivers for the title.

Why he might finish lower: No matter how talented Bayne is, he remains 18 years old. Very few drivers have the wherewithal to withstand the pressure of NASCAR at that age. Is Bayne among them?