Daytona 500: Bayne - Media Day visit

TREVOR BAYNE - No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

YOU'LL BE RUNNING BOTH SERIES THIS YEAR. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? "We're really excited for the upcoming year. We checked the box for the Nationwide Series, so to be able to run for that championship, I think we're gonna be really competitive. They've built a really solid team around me. I'm gonna be in the 16 this year, which is one of the primary cars, whereas last year I was kind of a fifth team that was just thrown in there, so I know our Nationwide deal is gonna be strong. The way this Cup deal came about was just being there in the Nationwide Series and running strong there and showing some potential. Then when I made the switch over to Ford Racing and Roush last year, the opportunity came about with the Wood Brothers because Roush was working on supporting them a little bit and Donnie Wingo had just switched over and Bill Elliott was the driver at the time and they just said, 'Hey, if you want to come over here and drive this thing one race, come on over.' So the reason I went there to run Texas was to get approved for Daytona and this race we're gonna run now. At the time, I thought it might be a fifth Roush car or something, but it ended up going really well at Texas and the Wood Brothers were like, 'Hey, we'll keep moving forward here.' So it's a really awesome opportunity and I love the Wood Brothers team. If I could just drive there forever I would be happy because they're just racers. Eddie and Len Wood, they like to hang out at the shop and be a part of it. Leonard is always there working on projects. I always tell Leonard, 'It's no wonder you guys won so many races.' This guy is smart. He's in there building carbon fiber R/C cars and all kinds of stuff, so it's just a racer's dream to drive for the Wood Brothers. It's a famous car and to make my debut here at Daytona with them, I couldn't ask for a better situation."

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU FOUND OUT ABOUT THE RULE TO RUN FOR ONLY ONE TITLE? "I love it. I was hoping they didn't take away the Cup drivers altogether because that's just competition. We want to race against the best and that's the only way we're gonna become the best is if we're racing against them and bettering ourselves all the time. But I also like the point that we're gonna be able to shine as champions now. One Nationwide regular is gonna win the championship this year and I think that's really cool and gives us something to look forward to, and it just gives us some credibility moving forward. It's gonna help us build a brand as we're moving up to Cup because you can sell a champion. I think that's really important, but I love that the Cup drivers are still around because it's the best of both worlds."

HAS DAVID PEARSON GIVEN YOU ANY ADVICE YET, PARTICULARLY ABOUT HOW TO RUN AT DAYTONA? "I haven't got the chance to talk to David much yet. I was actually testing during media tour and that was the first time he kind of came back around, so hopefully he's gonna be down here and I can talk to him because that's a smart guy. I got to talk to Bill Elliott a little bit last year when I was in Texas about even this race and those guys have a lot of knowledge. They just know so much about it. Obviously, it's a little bit different now but the rules of physics in racing still apply, so everything that they tell you is true. But I think the best learning tool is experience, so some of the stuff they were telling me I was trying to be as big of a sponge as I could, but I didn't have enough pores to soak it in because they were feeding me so much, so I think once I get out on the race track and I know what to expect, then I can go back to them and even learn more and ask more questions."

YOU DON'T SEEM TO HAVE ANY JITTERS ABOUT BEING ON THIS BIG STAGE. "I don't know. When you set your expectations and you finally get there, it doesn't come as a surprise, I guess. Since I was five years old I wanted to be here at this point, so now that we're here, this is where I wanted to be so we belong here and I think we're gonna try to make that statement that we're not just here to run a race, we're here to stay. I know that's a strong statement because we haven't been on the race track yet, but I think we can. I think we've got the opportunity to do it. I've got all the support around me with Ford Racing and Wood Brothers and Roush on the Nationwide side, and getting double seat time this weekend, I'm really looking forward to that because I like to stay busy all the time."

DALE EARNHARDT CAME HERE LIKE HE OWNED THE PLACE IN '79 AND DROVE IT LIKE HE DID. "I think as a race car driver that's the mentality you have to have. Sometimes it gets me in trouble because I'm so worried about performance and being the fastest in practice and qualifying on the pole that you set unreal expectations and that sets you up for disappointment, but I think as long as we set those real expectations, kind of like we did at Texas, and you meet those expectations, you're just gonna get better and better. I think you have to set those expectations so you can meet them and keep bettering yourself all the time."

ARE YOU RUNNING FOR ROOKIE OF THE YEAR IN CUP? "I would like to. I would love to be able to say I was a Cup Rookie of the Year, but I don't know what they're gonna do yet. I've been asking them and prying at them. I think they are gonna build something to make it easy for somebody to run for Rookie of the Year. Whether it's this year or next year, I don't know. They may be more forgiving on how many races I can run, or whether you're designated to run that series for points or not then you become a rookie. I don't know what they're gonna do, but I would love to one day run for Rookie of the Year, whether it's this year or next year. I've got 17 Cup races scheduled so far, but if somebody wants to come on for four more, we'll do it. I think everything is open-ended right now. Our Nationwide deal, our Cup deal. You'll see my styling Herbie the Lovebug-looking suit when I come out here. It's all solid white. I think David Pearson will have some respect for that - a solid white car. I actually think Ford is on the car for this week promoting the Mustang, and our Cup deal is really open-ended. We've sold 17 so far with Ford Racing, Motorcraft, Ford Parts.com and Quick Lane have all come on and kind of combined to help us get those 17, but now we're looking to build on that. As many as we can run, I would be more than happy to get behind the wheel."

JEFF GORDON SAID RACING TOOK HIM AWAY FROM A LOT. DID YOU MISS ANYTHING DURING YOUR TEEN DAYS THAT YOU REGRET? "My birthday is on the 19th and is on the day of the Nationwide race and I'll be 20, so my teen years are kind of over now and I definitely see what Jeff is saying. It takes a lot of sacrifice, but that's why only a few get to do this every weekend. It's missing birthday parties when you're five years old to go to the go kart track, but looking at it now, there's nothing I would rather do than be sitting here ready to run the 500. I don't count it as a loss for having to do those kind of things. At the time, it may seem like the end of the world when I hang out with friends, but this has been my dream, so to stay focused and stay driven, I think it's good for kids to have these kind of goals. Some of the activities they do participate in they shouldn't be (laughing), so I think it's good to have these kind of goals and get there."

HOW DO YOU LIKE BEING HERE AT 8 AM? "Every Tuesday I get up and do that Sirius radio show at 8:30, so I'm kind of used to getting myself going. If I could sleep in until 12 every day, that would be the way I would have it, but that's not reality anymore. The problem is I still stay up until two every night. I haven't fixed the night part yet, but I've fixed the morning, so, really, I just lose sleep instead of going to bed earlier."

HOW GOOD CAN YOU GUYS BE ON THE CUP SIDE? "I want to be realistic, but I'm also an optimist, so I'm gonna say that we're gonna be really competitive. I think setting those high expectations will make us perform better. I think we have all the equipment. We have the support from Ford Racing. They've really stepped up their game this year. They sat us all down and said, 'Hey, what is it gonna take to win races and championships?' Just to see that kind of support from a manufacturer is huge. To know Roush Fenway is behind me as a driver on the Nationwide side and anything I need is gonna really help me to move forward. The Wood Brothers, they've poured their heart and soul into this. You can see a lot of excitement going on and they said they haven't felt this excited going to Daytona in a long time, so to hear that it gives me a little boost to see the confidence they already have in me after one race. Hopefully, we can just build on that, but I think we can be competitively a top 15 team. I don't know that because we haven't been on the track yet, but given our run last year, if it's anything like Texas, then there's no doubt in my mind that we can be a top 15 team every week."

YOU HAD A ROUGH STRETCH IN NATIONWIDE LAST YEAR WITH ACCIDENTS. DO YOU FEAR THAT CAN HAPPEN IN CUP AND YOU'LL GO THROUGH A LEARNING PROCESS? "It was tough in the Nationwide Series last year. It started here on lap four or seven and we were already wrecked. I don't want to say that's part of it because it's not, it doesn't always happen, but I definitely think there's a learning curve. You look at guys like Joey Logano and now look at what he's doing, so there's no doubt in my mind that there's gonna be a learning curve, so to have those 17 races this year to prepare for hopefully a full season next year, that's a perfect scenario to learn. But I think we can avoid some of that, too, by running good. If you stay up front, then you're generally out of trouble, especially on the Nationwide side. When you're running 15th-20th, you're probably gonna get crashed just because that's where you're around, so as long as we stay competitive and stay up front, I think we should be OK this year. On the Cup side, I've already gotten to know a lot of the drivers, so I don't really see it being a problem of them looking down at me and saying, 'Hey, I need a caution, let's find the 21 car.' I've been there before, but I think running the Nationwide Series and having them run with me has really built a lot of confidence and respect between us."

ANY CUP GUYS YOU GO TO FOR ADVICE? "There are a lot. Jimmie Johnson has always been out-of-his-way-nice to me, and that's something you wouldn't expect a five-time champion to do, but everytime I see him, whether I'm walking down pit road and he's on the other side, he always comes to me. Even at Texas, I was standing there before qualifying and he's like, 'Hey, just keep your blinders on and stay focused on your goals.' He's incredible at being able to block out everything, so I've got to take that advice and run with it. Kevin Harvick, believe it or not, has played an instrumental role. A lot of younger guys think he pushes them around, but, for some reason, we've clicked. He called me over to his trailer at the first Dover and he's like, 'Man, I don't know what's going on, but I feel like I want to help you.' He was talking about setting a pace for myself and not racing every lap like it's the last lap. That's my competitive nature. I want to lead every lap. I want to be the fastest every lap, so to have a guy like that kind of tell me, 'It's OK not to be the fastest every lap, just be the fastest on the last lap.' That's the kind of stuff that helps. And obviously Carl now that he's my teammate. As soon as I started talking to Roush he called me up. He was like, 'Man, we would love to have you.' It's almost like he was talking to me as Jack would. He's like, 'Come on over. We want to have you and help you.' So he's just been really awesome about it so far."

DOES IT KIND OF SURPRISE YOU WHEN YOU ANSWER THE PHONE AND IT'S CARL EDWARDS ON THE OTHER END? "I'm not gonna lie it does, but getting to know these guys they're really personable people. They're awesome. They treat me just like my buddies do at home, so it's really cool to see that and it's weird because my buddies at home are like, 'Dude, you were just on the phone with Carl Edwards? What's that?' I just lost that kind of perspective of it because I'm in it everyday. I'm in Mooresville a lot and I'm around the shop and I'm just used to it, but when you get outside of that immune system, everybody is like, 'Whoa, this is a big deal.' So it's cool to see that people still think NASCAR is big deal because it is and it's awesome."

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR EXPECTATIONS OR WOULD YOU RATHER BE UNDER THE RADAR MORE? "The best thing about the Wood Brothers team is that you would never think the 21 team would be an underdog team, but in a sense it is because it's not a four-car powerhouse team like Hendrick or Roush or Joe Gibbs even with their three cars. So I love the opportunity that I'm getting there. I'm not expected to go out and light the world on fire as if I jumped in the 99 car next week, then that's what people would expect. Like the Kevin Harvick situation when he took over for Dale Earnhardt. I heard him talking about this when we were down here for the test. People just expected him to do good, whereas me, I get to kind of start at the ground level and work my way up. There is a lot of opportunity to keep bettering ourselves and moving up to those powerhouse teams, but, like I said, I'd like to stay at the Wood Brothers forever. I think top 15, that might be setting the bar a little high at first and that may set us up for failure, but I want to have high goals so I can get to them and not be satisfied if we run 25th. I always want to be pushing for more, but I definitely think I'm in the perfect situation to be with the Wood Brothers and great support. I couldn't ask for a better time to be a part of Ford Racing. The Roush Yates engines are really strong. The chassis side from Roush last year was really stepping it up with Carl winning the last two races, so I think it's perfect timing."

-source: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Joey Logano , David Pearson