Trevor Bayne was eligible for last year's All-Star Race, but he missed out after he contracted a debilitating case of Lyme disease.
Bayne is back this year, disease free and with sponsorship from Good Sam Club and Camping World RV Sales. Like last year, he's still eligible for the race by virtue of winning the 2011 Daytona 500, and will compete in Saturday's main event without having to qualify through the Sprint Showdown.
"I'm just excited to be in the All-Star Race," Bayne said. "The new format, I think, is going to be a lot of fun. Our strength this year has been on the short runs and this race will be a series of short runs. We were running in the top five our last time here and we ran out of fuel, so fortunately, there's no fuel-mileage issues with this format."
Bayne has again struggled to secure funding this season, having lost his full-time Nationwide Series ride and continuing to run a partial schedule in the Sprint Cup Series. The All-Star Race pays $1 million to the winner, a sizeable chunk to an operation still hoping to add more races to their 2012 docket.
Should he win the Sprint All-Star Race, Bayne said he and the Wood Brothers team are committed to spending their winnings on picking up additional races this season.
"Eddie and Len are the kind of owners who love being at the racetrack," Bayne said. "This is their hobby, so it's not like they take their winnings and go buy a new boat with it or something. They love racing and they want to be a part of it, so winning on Saturday night will definitely help us add more races."
The team took a similar approach after winning Daytona and added additional races to their schedule as a result. Bayne's effort remains on the Sprint Cup Series, but he will return to the Nationwide Series in August with support from yourracecar.com in the Bristol race.
"The Sprint Cup Series is where we've placed our focus," Bayne said. "We've had two top-10s out of four races this year and that's pretty honorable for a part-time team. I'd just like the opportunity to add on to that and keep working on it."