Nov 12, 2013, 10:40 AM EDT
Former Daytona 500 winner and current NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Trevor Bayne has announced that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but has been cleared to compete by both his doctors and NASCAR after extensive testing at the Mayo Clinic.
Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the NNS, finished seventh last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. He currently sits sixth in the NNS standings going into Saturday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and is expected to be back in NNS full-time next season in the same No. 6 car.
“I’ve never been more driven to compete,” Bayne said in a team release. “My goals are the same as they’ve been since I started racing. I want to compete at the highest level and I want to win races and championships.
“I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I feel good. There are currently no symptoms and I’m committed to continuing to take the best care of my body as possible. I will continue to trust God daily and know that His plan for me is what is best.”
In his own thoughts, RFR team owner Jack Roush gave Bayne his full backing as he forges ahead with his career.
“We are 100 percent supportive of Trevor and his ability to compete in a race car,” Roush said. “I have full confidence in Trevor and his partners have all expressed that same confidence and support.
“As with all of our drivers, we look forward to standing behind Trevor and providing him with all of the tools he needs as he continues to develop in his young career.”
After success in various stock car developmental leagues, Bayne ascended to the NNS in 2009 and then made his first Sprint Cup start toward the tail end of 2010.
But he made his name in the 2011 Daytona 500, when he claimed a shocking triumph for the famous Wood Brothers team and became the race’s youngest-ever winner.
No one seemed more surprised than Bayne himself, who said over his team radio, “Are you kidding me?,” shortly after he’d taken the checkered flag. However, his 2011 season also saw him sidelined for several weeks due to a battle with Lyme disease.
Bayne has continued to race part-time in Sprint Cup for the Wood Brothers in addition to his NNS duties with Roush Fenway.
“As for now, I want to close out the season strong this weekend at Homestead and then shift my focus on getting ready to compete for the NASCAR Nationwide Series [NNS] championship in 2014,” he said in additional comments.
“I have a great team, a great family and great people all around me. I have been truly blessed in life and I look forward to what my future holds.”