Trevor Bayne – From Youngest Daytona 500 Winner to Seasoned Veteran
By Kent Whitaker:
If you’re from East Tennessee and have followed racing over the years then the name Trevor Bayne was not a new one when he made Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history. Bayne became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 at the age of twenty in 2011.
The victory not only propelled Bayne into the history books it also signaled a return to winning for the famed race team of Wood Brothers Racing. Prior to winning the Daytona 500 the last win came for the team in 2001 when Elliot Saddler won at Bristol in the legendary No. 21 car.
Today, Bayne drives the No. 6 Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway racing in the Cup Series and the No. 60 Ford Mustang in the Xfinity Series. Being in the top-tier of racing is a long way from Bayne’s go-kart racing start.
Heading into Kansas the driver says that the solid start to the 2017 season can be seen by their solid finishes well inside of the top-twenty. He also had anticipated a better run at Talladega, but noted how the GEICO 500 went for the team.
“We have had a really solid start to our season,” Bayne stated when speaking about the season with the Kansas racing approaching. “We’ve been running inside the top 15 consistently every week and were running inside the top 10 in Talladega before we got collected in that deal on the backstretch. I’m really proud of what we have accomplished so far this season and am confident that we can continue that push into the summer, beginning this weekend in Kansas.”
Hitting the Tracks at Five
At the age of five Bayne started his racing career behind the wheel of go-karts hitting the tracks around Knoxville and the East Tennessee region. The young driver made his mark quickly as the wins began to stack up. Bayne won more than 300 feature wins, a combination of 18 State and track Championships as well as three World Championships.
He followed his success on the go-kart level when he moved to the Allison Legacy Series in 2004. Once again, his skill as a driver helped him find his way to Victory Lane and was the youngest top-rookie which he followed with winning the series National Championship.
Bayne raced in the Allison Legacy Series for only two years before moving up the ladder. In 41 starts in the series Bayne nailed down 19 poles and took the checkered 14 times. The amazing statistic of his time in the series, as if his win and poles were not enough, is that out of 41 races he finished in the top-five 30 times. All of this happened before he was fifteen years old!
USAR Hooters Pro-Cup to DEI to Daytona Champion
After making his mark in go-karts and the Allison Legacy Series it was time for Bayne to make the move up once again. The 15-year-old drive made the move to stock car racing via the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. Once again, Bayne stood out when he received the USAR Hooters Southern Division Rookie Honors.
The next few years saw Bayne moving towards his debut in the Cup Series as he signed with Dale Earnhardt Enterprises / DEI as a development driver appearing in the Camping World East Series. Bayne proved worthy as he chalked up a win in the series and received Sunoco Rookie honors. Under the banner of Michael Waltrip Racing Bayne moved into the Nationwide, now Xfinity, Series.
Soon he was behind the wheel of the legendary No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing in 2010. The following year Bayne crossed the finish line first at the Daytona 500.
More than a NASCAR Driver
Trevor Bayne is one of the few drivers that has reached the top of the NASCAR level by winning the series signature event. He’s also a driver that has hit several bumps along the way. During a short period of time, following the 500 win, he had to step away from driving. He announced that he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Bayne, who often credits his Christian faith, fought back and returned as a driver in the Cup Series. Shortly after, in 2012, he announced his engagement and was married in 2013. The couple is quietly building their family with one child and another baby due.
In my opinion, Trevor Bayne is more than just a NASCAR driver for Roush Fenway Racing. He’s already proven that there is more to life than winning the Daytona 500. Pushing back against MS, getting back behind the wheel, getting married, and raising a family makes him a champion on many levels.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kent Whitaker, often called ‘the Deck Chef,’ is a sportswriter, culinary writer, and cookbook author with fourteen titles. He covers NASCAR, racing in general, Football, barbecue, grilling, and tailgating. You can visit him on The Deck Chef .”