Spencer Bayston will end the 2022 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season as the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year; however he’s already looking ahead to 2023.
Bayston, of Lebanon, IN, is set to finish eighth in points for his rookie season with CJB Motorsports, currently having two wins – one at Bristol Motor Speedway and the other at Huset’s Speedway. While successful, Bayston said there was still a lot left on the table.
“I know my guys are excited for the break but I’m almost ready to head back to Florida (for DIRTcar Nationals in February) and get things started again, just because I feel like there is a lot we left on the table,” Bayston said. “Especially me, that I left on the table.”
The biggest area of improvement he pointed to was limiting bad nights, whether self-inflicted or not. In the early stage of the season, he and the team were on a stretch of 11 top-10 finishes in a row, including their Bristol win. Then, their consistency swayed from month to month.
“Those are the difference between being fifth in points and eighth in points,” Bayston said. “Winning two races versus we could have won a couple more. There’s always things you could go back and do differently. There’s a lot of things I went into this year not knowing. I’ll record that in my notebook and have it prepared and ready in my mind for next year. That’ll just improve our overall performance in general.”
Bayston joined CJB Motorsports in 2021 and the pairing quickly found success, winning in their fourth race together at Port Royal Speedway – a home state win for the Pennsylvania-based team. Before then, he jumped between four other teams throughout the season. Entering his World of Outlaws rookie campaign, it was Bayston’s first opportunity to run an entire year with one team and crew.
Leading that group is veteran crew chief and a World of Outlaws Crew Chief of the Year recipient Barry Jackson. Bayston knew Jackson before joining the team but this was his first full year working with him. He compared Jackson’s leadership style to a football coach, a method Bayston said he likes having played sports in school.
“His overall mentality is always on attack mode,” Bayston said. “That’s what I like and can definitely get behind. Overall, our relationship has been good. It’s not all cupcakes and rainbows, or whatever they want to say. But it’s not supposed to be. We’re here to do one job and be successful.
“When I played sports when I was young, I always performed and did better when I was under a little bit of that scrutiny and pressure that is meant to be portrayed from a coach or a leader. Someone that you look up to. I have no negativity. It’s just making sure that we stay on that even mindset all year long to be able to go into each night the same and really work toward something.”
Watching Brad Sweet and David Gravel run for the championship this year, seeing the relentless grind they put themselves through from February to November to go after the title added further credence to Jackson’s mentality for Bayston.
“It’s something I’ve learned a lot this year, just how tough it is night in and night out,” Bayston said. “Come in and perform and stay levelheaded as some of these guys competing for a championship. They haven’t been able to take a breath all year long. And that’s the way it should be. We have to get up to that point. It’s a work in progress. It’ll take some time but I think we have all the tools we need in order to do so.”
After a fourth-place finish at Williams Grove Speedway during the National Open, Bayston finished 17th during the opening night of the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Wednesday night. With a break on Thursday, it gives he and the CJB crew a chance to regroup and aim for two more wins with their True Timber/Signing Day Sports #5 car.
“Our car has been fast, and we’ve been running really well,” Bayston added. “I think our notebook is to the point where we’re kind of getting a good established feel. Carry that through this final weekend and hopefully that will transition into the beginning of next year and pick up right where we left off and really just go into attack mode at the beginning of the year and try to not fall too far behind early in the season when we’re really just getting our feet wet.”
No matter their finale outcome, Bayston will officially be crowned the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Saturday night, joining the likes of former champions Bobby Davis, Jr., Mark Kinser, Donny Schatz and Brad Sweet who have also claimed the Rookie of the Year title.
“With us being able to accomplish that this year is extra special,” he said.
Fans can meet Bayston and the rest of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series stars Thursday, Nov. 3, at The Dirt Track at Charlotte during the World Finals Fan Fest along the front stretch access road from 2 to 4 p.m. You’ll get the chance to interact and play games with the drivers throughout the experience.
For tickets to the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.