Not so long ago, Trevor Bayne seemed poised to become the Next Big Thing is NASCAR.

He had the skills, the looks and the charm to make it happen after winning the Daytona 500 in 2011, ironically, on the 10-year anniversary of the death of Dale Earnhardt.

“It [NASCAR] can let go of a ghost now," I wrote days after Bayne won the Great American Race. "NASCAR's crusty, iconic hero may finally rest in peace a decade after his death. The Intimidator can step aside and make way for a new Speed Racer.”

It hasn’t quite worked out that way for various reasons. But the good news for Bayne is that he will finally have a true opportunity to see if the great buzz he generated is the real deal.

Bayne will become a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver with Roush Fenway Racing next season, driving Mark Martin’s storied No. 6 Ford with AdvoCare on board as a major sponsor.

“My time in the 6 car will always be special to me, and yes, there’s a part of me will always be No. 6,” Martin said last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the announcement was made. “Because of that, I’m excited to say Jack Roush is bringing back the No. 6 Ford to the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2015

Bayne is currently a full-time driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he is fifth in points.

“This is obviously the biggest news I’ve had in my life,” Bayne said. “This is something I’ve waited on since I was 5 years old, wondering what car I’d be in with what brand. The older I got, the more the economy changed and the less it looked like I would have one sponsor to be behind me for a full season. Now I can gladly say I know what that brand is going to be for me.”

George Diaz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @georgediaz