Skip to content

Trevor Bayne dealing with MS in same way he did with 2011 Daytona 500 win

Feb 12, 2014, 1:25 AM EDT

Trevor Bayne celebrates after winning the Nationwide Series race at iowa Speedway last June. Getty Images

When the initial shock finally subsided after Trevor Bayne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last November, he did the exact same thing that he did after winning the 2011 Daytona 500:

He embraced them both.

One was the win of a lifetime, while the other is the battle of a lifetime. And just like the way be beat Daytona on that day in February three years ago, Bayne also intends on beating MS, rather than the other way around.

“The first thing is what does this mean for me, and so far it’s just a diagnosis,” Bayne said. “Fortunately, it’s not something I have to live with every day at this point.

“I’m so thankful for every day. It just kind of put things in perspective for me. We all feel kind of invincible, whether we’re 12 years old or 50 years old, there’s a point in our lives where we feel like nothing can go wrong.

“For me, it’s more of a reality check a little bit. It’s not like I live in fear of that, it makes me more appreciative every single day that I wake up, God gives me another day, it makes you want to use it. You wake up, your eyes are good, your hands are good and you’re ready to go. Fortunately, every single day has been good.”

The outpouring of support for Bayne’s medical condition has virtually equaled the support he received after Carl Edwards pushed him to victory in the 2011 Daytona 500. He considers himself a fortunate man to have both.

At the same time, while countless NASCAR fans will never be able to personally relate to Bayne’s accomplishment in the Great American Race, there are countless others dealing with various medical conditions that can relate to the type of illness he’s been diagnosed with, and he is grateful for the support he’s received from both events.

“More people can relate to something that’s tough, a trial, a struggle, than they can to people out winning a NASCAR race,” Bayne said. “There’s only 43 guys that get to do that every weekend and the rest of the world does not.

“I get stopped every single day just about from different fans with suggestions for diets and all kinds of stuff because they care. It’s kind of like having a million moms out there that care for you and want to take care of you. It’s nice to have.”

But Bayne is quick to add that he doesn’t want his medical condition to be his sole story going forward. If he remains healthy and follows his doctor’s orders, it could be many years, if not decades, before he has to worry about MS beginning to manifest itself in him.

“They definitely keep an eye on me and make sure they’re doing everything they can,” Bayne said. “We’re not just going to ignore it and act like there was no diagnosis.”

So for now and his long-range future, Bayne has compartmentalized his MS. He knows its there, but as long as it doesn’t begin to affect his performance on the race track and he isn’t a danger to fellow racers, he’d much rather talk racing – and only racing.

In particular, he waxes effusive about last season in the Nationwide Series, when he finished a career-high sixth in the standings. In 33 starts, he won a race, as well as added seven top-5 and 21 top-10 finishes.

“We don’t want to be content when we finish 15th or 17th place, we want to be contending for top-fives,” he said matter of factly. “We definitely expected to try and contend for a championship, and that being my first full year in a Nationwide car with one team all year long, I felt I learned so much about a championship mindset, what that means and what you can and cannot do and still contend for that championship. The last half of the season last year, we earned more points than anybody except for the 3 car with Austin Dillon, and obviously he went on to win the championship. I keep following these champions along. I just need to do it myself.”

Bayne turns 23 on Feb. 19, just three days before the Nationwide Series season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. With two-time Nationwide champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr. having moved up to Sprint Cup last season, and 2013 Nationwide champ Dillon having moved up to the Sprint Cup Series in 2014, Bayne’s chances for a Nationwide championship are as bright as they ever have been.

“Our team this season, we feel really good about it and our mindset and understanding where we fell short last year,” Bayne said. “Our performance on the race track was okay, but I think we could have been better, contended for more top-fives and more wins and that would have led maybe to a better points finish.

“To me, our biggest weakness was the bad days that went really bad. We broke a gear at Daytona running second and finished 32nd or something like that. We got grass in our grill at Texas running fourth and finished 34th. Some of those things were out of our control.

“But there were some days where it was in my control, like at Darlington, where I got into it with a lapped car running 10th, crashed the car, probably would have finished 20th but I wasn’t content with that, so I tried to push for 15th, backed it into the fence again and finished 30th.

“Those are the kinds of days that hinder a championship run, and that’s something I think we’re more focused on this year, is what does that look like, to gain the most possible points every weekend and not make those mistakes, where it gets in your head that you have to make up those points. You don’t really want to be in a chasing situation, where you’re trying to make up points. You want to be strong at the beginning so that in the last half of the season, you’re focused on race wins and not trying to make up 20 or 30 points.

“We finished sixth instead of fourth because of (the difference of just) four points. That could have been for the championship. … Every single point counts, and that’s the biggest driving force last year that I learned from.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Although it has now been three years, it still seems like only yesterday that Bayne won the 2011 Daytona 500. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit one of the biggest upsets in NASCAR history:

Latest Posts
  1. Alonso’s doing it again – another year outperforming teammate, equipment

    Apr 21, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    AlonsoChina AP

    Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso continues to extract the maximum – and then some – of a car that is maybe third or fourth best in the field at the moment.

  2. Who is better off? 2013 vs 2014 F1 points comparison

    Apr 21, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    We compare each driver’s tally for the first four races of the 2013 and 2014 seasons – three of the five world champions on the grid are worse off.

  3. An anti-climactic race in China ahead of F1′s return to Europe

    Apr 21, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    A rather drab race in China, but Mercedes won’t mind after extending its championship lead once again.

  4. McLaren finishes as bottom Mercedes team in China

    Apr 21, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Jenson Button AP

    Button and Magnussen can only bring their cars home in 11th and 13th on Sunday in China.

  5. FIA WEC: Solid first outing for Mark Webber and Porsche

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    Former Red Bull F1 driver finishes third, while Porsche’s GTE-Pro squads finish 1-2 in class.

  6. New incentive for NASCAR Sprint Cup teams to win races: free breakfast!

    Apr 20, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

    boxcar grille

    Trophies and big paychecks are no longer the only things a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and team get when they win a race. Now they get a big breakfast, too. According to Statesville.com, the Boxcar Grille in Statesville, N.C., has begun serving breakfast to winning teams in the Charlotte area after they return from capturing a Cup race.

  7. FIA WEC: Title defense starts poorly for Audi

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    Both of their Le Mans Prototypes fail to see the checkered flag at Silverstone due to accidents.

  8. NASCAR’s Chad Knaus, NFL coach Ron Rivera swap strategies, philosophies

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) AP

    While he probably can’t throw a football more than 20 or 30 yards, Chad Knaus is a diehard Carolina Panthers fan. And while football and stock car racing are polar opposites, they do have some similarities, particularly when it comes to team building, success, strategy and preparation for each game or race. Knaus, a six-time Sprint Cup champion crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, recently called Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera to throw around and share ideas that might be beneficial to both men.

  9. Hermie Sadler to promote new wrestling group in Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

    Hermie Sadler is seen in an advertisement promoting his involvement in Denny Hamlin's Short Track Showdown on Thursday at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, as well as being named to the board of directors of the new Global Force Wrestling association. (Illustration courtesy of Global Force Wrestling) Hermie Sadler is seen in an advertisement promoting his involvement in Denny Hamlin's Short Track Showdown on Thursday at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, as well as being named to the board of directors of the new Global Force Wrestling association. (Illustration courtesy of Global Force Wrestling)

    Hermie Sadler will never be confused with former wrestling greats Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin – not even Rik “Wooooo” Flair. But the NASCAR analyst for Fox Sports 1 has been a longtime fan of wrestling and will now become somewhat of a decision maker, too.

  10. Toyota scores 1-2 finish in WEC season opener at Silverstone

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, and Nicolas Lapierre take the No. 8 Toyota to the win in the Six Hours of Silverstone.

  11. Call him Professor Junior: Dale Earnhardt Jr. going back to school

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. plays teacher and Kyle Busch the dutiful student prior to last Saturday's race at Darlington Raceway.  (Photo: Jeff Curry/Getty Images) Getty Images

    More than 20 years after graduating, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going back to school. Well, for at least one day. Earnhardt will take part in a two-hour session on May 8 with two student groups, wrapped around an all-school assembly at Seaman High School in Topeka, Kansas, according to a report in the Topeka Capital-Journal.

  12. Happy Easter from MotorSportsTalk!

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Credit: Remains Credit: Remains

    We hope your Easter’s filled with family, friends…and maybe some jelly beans.

  13. Difficult weekend for Raikkonen worth just four points

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    Finn can only come home in eighth for Ferrari, some 50 seconds behind teammate Fernando Alonso.

  14. Hulkenberg and Bottas quietly brilliant in China

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Largely unnoticed, these two youngsters were brilliant today in China.

  15. VIDEO: Vettel explains decision to not let Ricciardo past

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    German driver saw no reason to follow team orders, but soon realised that there was no point in holding Ricciardo up.

  16. Rosberg perseveres after telemetry failure to finish second

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg AP

    German driver downbeat after losing to Hamilton yet again, but in the grand scheme of things, it was a great result.

  17. Chinese GP called two laps early after checkered flag mix-up

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Embarrassing error sees race end on lap 54, not lap 56; Kobayashi the only driver to lose a position.

  18. Alonso scores Ferrari’s first podium finish of 2014

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    Ferrari ends torrid week with something to smile about as Alonso finishes third in China.

  19. VIDEO: Vettel ignores team orders, telling team “tough luck”

    Apr 20, 2014, 5:47 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    German driver refuses to let Daniel Ricciardo past at first, but ultimately thinks better of it.

  20. Hamilton astonished by Mercedes pace after China win

    Apr 20, 2014, 5:30 AM EDT

    Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit Reuters

    British driver delighted with team effort, and pleased to see teammate Nico Rosberg reach the podium again.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. A. Seuss (1773)
  2. B. Myers (1618)
  3. J. Myers (1506)
  4. L. Fleming (1503)
  5. J. Boston (1313)
  1. T. Hessert (1307)
  2. P. Kligerman (1208)
  3. B. Loftin (1177)
  4. C. Whitt (1141)
  5. B. Jones (997)