Trevor Bayne - Ford Racing Interview

By Ford Racing

This Week In Ford Racing

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, will be going back to Daytona this weekend for the first time since winning the season-opening Daytona 500. Bayne, who turned 20 years old the day before the 500, spoke about going back to the track and what his expectations are the second time around.

Champion's breakfast: Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Champion's breakfast: Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

HAS ANY OF THE EXCITEMENT WORN OFF THESE PAST FIVE MONTHS? “No, it’s still awesome. I’ve got stacks of pictures and flags and autograph requests at my house to remind me of it every day, so it’s still really cool and I think it’ll take a long time for that excitement to wear completely off. We’ve had a lot of other stuff happen in the season that has kind of slowed us down a little on that excitement train, but it’s been a good year so far and we’re looking forward to going back to Daytona this weekend.”

HAS WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 SUNK IN YET? DO YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS? “I think it’s started to. Every time a fan comes up to me, even though it’s months afterwards, they’re still saying, ‘Man, that was awesome. Congratulations on the Daytona 500.’ Normally, after you win a race a couple months later everybody kind of backs off and they don’t really say that much about it, but this one has lasted six months already, so I think this is something that’s gonna be around for a long time.”

WAS YOUR MYSTERY ILLNESS THE SCARIEST THING YOU’VE EXPERIENCED? “It’s kind of scary when you don’t know, but, then again, I don’t really have to know as long as I’m getting better, and I am. To me, it’s like we just keep digging and hopefully it doesn’t come back.”

HOW MUCH DID THAT SET YOU BACK? “The biggest thing is it took us out of the points championship in the Nationwide Series. We really wanted to run for that championship this year and now we’re too far back to be in contention, so that’s kind of the biggest disappointment to me. As far as the Cup races go, yeah, I want to run every time I can, but, really, I only missed two races, so that’s not as big of a deal to me as missing five Nationwide races and being out of the points championship. Still, we missed the All-Star Race and that was a big deal for me too, to be able to be in that and have a sponsor for it, so both of those are kind of the down side to it. The good side is I learned a lot. While I was out sick I got to watch a lot of races and I learned a lot of stuff, and I’ve got a new appreciation for what I get to do every weekend. Not everybody in the country gets to go drive race cars and be as fortunate as I am, so I definitely have a new appreciation for that.”

DAYTONA THIS WEEKEND WILL BE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT ANIMAL FROM FEBRUARY, PLUS YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR CAR BECAUSE IT’S IN THE MUSEUM. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? “Well, first I’m gonna dress up like a ninja and go steal my car out of the museum and get it ready to go again (laughing). I’m just kidding because we do have a car that is just as good as the car we had the last race, so I’m really excited about that. In the wind tunnel the car was very similar, so I think we’re gonna have a good piece there in Cup, and my Nationwide car they tell me is better, so I’m excited about that race as well. I’ve got to go there with the same mindset I had before of just making all the laps and being around at the end and hopefully we’ll have a shot to win it again.”

HOW MUCH DIFFERENT IS YOUR DAYTONA PREPARATION THIS TIME COMPARED TO FEBRUARY? A LOT HAS CHANGED? “The expectations are different and that’s the hardest part, keeping that in check and not going there thinking, ‘Man, I’ve got to win this thing,’ and then drive too hard and get myself in trouble to where I crash. I’ve got to go there with the same mindset of just making all that laps and that’s gonna be important to do. But it’s also better this time because I have drivers wanting to work with me now. I’ve had a few Cup drivers text me and ask if they can put me in their radio, and last time I was sitting on pit road for 30 minutes waiting for someone to come work with me, so it’s a little bit different this time around and I think it’s all for the better.”

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF GROUNDED THIS WEEKEND BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO BE VERY POPULAR IN THE GARAGE AND THE MEDIA CENTER? “I just have to take that and not add anymore pressure because a lot of people are gonna be asking me if we can back it up. Yes, we can. I think we definitely have the ability to do it. We have the car to do it. We’ve done it before, so we’ve proven that, but we just can’t let that get to us. We have to stay on our game plan and not get ahead of ourselves and not get into trouble and if we’re around at the end, we’ll have that chance. It’s gonna be hard to hold myself back from thinking that way. It’s gonna be easy to get out there and think, ‘Alright, I’ve got to lead every lap. I’ve got to go prove I can do this again,’ but I can’t do that. If I do, I’ll end up in trouble, so I’m just gonna keep remembering that and stay with my game plan and stick to it.”

DO YOU HAVE A SCHEDULE TO KEEP YOUR TIME UNDER CONTROL THIS WEEKEND? “They’ll pretty much have that to me by the end of the day or tomorrow, but we are going down early to get some of that out of the way. We’re gonna be there all day tomorrow doing media stuff and hanging out at the track, so that will hopefully clear things up for race days. Thursday will be a little bit busy again, but I’m hoping by Friday and Saturday it will clear up so I can just focus on driving the race car.”

WILL YOUR RESTRICTOR PLATE EXPERIENCE FROM DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA HELP THIS WEEKEND? “Every bit of experience you can get, no matter what kind of racing it is, will help you. I’m pretty confident in being able to draft now. I think I know what I’m doing, and I think most of the other guys do too, and now we’ve got confidence from the other drivers that we can do it because they’re willing to work with us, so that experience is crucial and I think it’s going to pay off a lot going to Daytona this time.”

WHAT IS YOUR GAME PLAN AS FAR AS QUALIFYING GOES? “With it being an impound race we can’t make some of the changes that we made before to help us qualify, so our car is probably not gonna be as good as it was for the Daytona 500 qualifying session, but I’m expecting we’ll still be really fast. They tell me this car is really good and I trust that, so I’m not really that worried about it. Still, you know that anything can happen, so I’ll be definitely hoping for a good run in qualifying.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Trevor Bayne , Eric Gilbert
Teams Wood Brothers Racing
Tags ford, ford racing, nascar, nscs, sprint cup, trevor bayne, wood brothers