Daytona 500 media day visit: Bayne

Ford Racing press release

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion

CAN YOU REPEAT? “That’s the plan. We wouldn’t have come if we didn’t think we could win. There’s a little bit more pressure this year. We’re not exactly flying under the radar, but I think we can go for it, that’s for sure."

Trevor Bayne
Trevor Bayne

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

ANY POINTS SWAP? “No, we didn’t do that this year. Last year, we worked on getting points and everything like that, but I think the Wood Brothers have really fast cars in qualifying, so, hopefully, we don’t have to worry about the duels. It’s gonna be a lot of pressure if we have to race into it. Hopefully, we’ll just qualify on Sunday and be good to go."

WERE YOU LOCKED IN LAST YEAR? “For the most part. We had the points with Richard Petty, so we were locked in and we were good to go."

MORE PRESSURE? “Not really. I think we’ve got good cars and all the races last year we attempted we ended up making on time. Even in Nationwide last year I kind of got used to this feeling because after July in Nationwide every race we had to make in time and then all my Cup races were on time."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING BACK TO THE OLD STYLE OF RACING HERE? “I like it. I was talking to Donnie Allison and he’s like, ‘Everybody is freaking out about his two-car drafting and how it works. They don’t realize we were doing this 30 years ago on the old surface.’ I forget who it was who was leading the race and acted like they blew up their motor so they could pull down and get behind the guy so they could win. I don’t remember which driver did that, but I was hearing stories about how they were racing back then the same exact way we’re racing right now."

THEY’RE GOING TO MINIMIZE THE TWO-CAR DRAFT. “Yeah, to me, it’s just racing. However we’re racing, we’re gonna be there to win it and it’s gonna be competitive. As long as it’s not a car every five seconds spread out on the track, then it’s still racing to me and whether it’s a pack or two cars pushing, you’ve just got to be the best guy at figuring it out and go for it."

WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE HERE? “It’s OK. We’re just making the best of what we’ve got right now and it’s tough to do that when you only have a few races. For me, I’m running about the same schedule I ran in Cup last year. It’s kind of one a month with the 21 car, but in Nationwide I had hoped to run a full season this year and run for a championship. Obviously, as a young guy you want to have championships under your belt and full seasons. I still haven’t spent a whole full season with one team yet in Nationwide and I think that would be great to have that opportunity, but, right now, we’re gonna run the first three races and kind of see where we stand, work on sponsorship deals. It just shows how tough it is right now. Here we are at Roush Fenway Racing with great things to offer and it’s still tough for us, so we’re working really hard at that."

ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED AT ALL? “You would definitely want to run for a championship as soon as possible and just get experience. As a young guy, experience is important and it’s crucial for me to be in the car as much as possible is my goal, but, like I said, I’m fortunate to be one of the guys that’s in the sport that didn’t bring money to the table or didn’t have my own sponsorship where my parents own a big business, so to have Roush Fenway fund me last year with no sponsorship was a big deal for them. It would kind of be hard to expect them to fund a full Cup team this year, two Nationwide teams and all that, so I am a little disappointed because I want to be racing all the time, but, like I said, I’m gonna make the best of it and just go out there and try to win every weekend."

HOW TOUGH WAS THE HEALTH ISSUE LAST YEAR? “It was tough because we were four points out of the lead then and I felt like that was my run at a championship. We had a great program going on, but it led to a lot of positive things for me. I appreciate what we do now. I never realized that I was just one of 43 until I had to watch it. I grew up racing against thousands of people, thousands of kids my age when I was younger and as you gradually move up some of them start disappearing and you never realize that you’re one of the ones that keeps progressing, so until you have to sit back and watch it, that’s when you realize how much you appreciate being here."

HOW SERIOUS WAS IT? “I had double-vision, so it’s pretty serious when you’re racing against 84 people out there (laughing). It was Lyme disease from getting bit by a tick, so it just created my immune system to go down and messed up my vision for a little bit, but I’m 100 percent right now and everything is good, so I feel ready to go."

IS THE TROPHY HOME IN YOUR BEDROOM IN TENNESSEE? “ It’s actually in the room I grew up in. I found a big box. I was going through the closet and it was kind of fun to go through old stuff every now and then. I’ve got my old football pads and old race suits, so I was looking at my jackets with my name on the back of them from racing go-karts, and I found this little box from kindergarten and it had all my writing stuff in it. It was Thanksgiving and it was like what I was thankful for. The first thing I did was thank my sponsors, so I feel like I was born to do this (laughing). And then the next thing was Jeff Gordon and then it was my church and my family, so it was kind of cool to see that, but even back then it was like, ‘I’m thankful for my go-kart,’ and here I was only five years old."

YOUR FAITH IS IMPORTANT TO YOU. HAVE YOU HAD ANY CRITICISM OF THAT? “Not as much as I have support. I think it’s been awesome. Our community and our fans and the people in our sport have been so supportive of it and just being who you are. I think when you stay true to who you are and try not to change, unless it’s for good, I think it’s awesome for people to do that. That’s what I try to do. I look at people like that, who have stayed firm in their beliefs and stayed firm in who they are and it inspires me to do that, so I look up to guys like that. I’m just trying to be who I am and be a racecar driver and be the best at it and live out my faith like I say I want to."

HOW DO YOU SEE SOME OF THE CRITICISM? “It’s tough, but it says that we’re gonna have criticism and persecution and stuff, so I’m good with it and we’ll just not let it change us, I guess."

HAVE YOU FOLLOWED THE JEREMY LIN STORY? “I haven’t been following it too much. It’s cool because this year it’s a lot different coming to Daytona. It’s a little bit more busy for us, but I’ve enjoyed it. I haven’t got to watch much TV that’s for sure."

YOU UNDERSTAND THE IDEA OF GETTING AN OPPORTUNITY. “Oh yeah, it’s awesome. It’s great. All of our stories this year are all about opportunity and new guys and young guys just coming in and trying to make a difference. I feel like it’s kind of cool because we all have that same competitive nature. It’s not just our faith or anything like that. Tim Tebow wants to be a winner. Jeremy Lin wants to be a winner and I do too, so I think it’s a good story."

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE HIM? “What’s funny is when you show up at a scene like this, when you win the Daytona 500 or you do what he’s done, everybody kind of thinks that all of a sudden you just woke up and you were a racecar driver or a basketball player and this is your first game and you won it. But they don’t really see the hard work that people put into it. He’s probably played basketball since he was three years old and grown up doing it, so I think it’s important to remember where you come from and just keep working at it like you always have because that’s what got you to the point you are. It’s easy when you get to a situation like this to say, ‘Hey, I made it. I’m done working at it and I’ll just let my talent carry me,’ but guys that succeed work at it hard just like they always have, so that’s what I would say to him."

NOTHING WILL RE-CREATE THE FEELING YOU HAD HERE LAST YEAR. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EMOTION OF THAT? “It’s hard to follow up, you know? It’s crazy because last year when I came here I was so under the radar. I didn’t expect any of this. I just came in as a guy that had been running Nationwide and had a great opportunity to run with an awesome team, so here I am at Daytona, driving in with my truck. I qualified third and I remember looking at that podium in the center of the track all weekend long like, ‘How cool would that be to finish third,’ and they were talking about the winnings and just how awesome a top-three would be, and then we win the thing. I’m driving out and I remember looking at that thing and seeing the 21 at the top of the board and the crazy feeling that was, but I don’t think it even sunk in – like the whole Victory Lane thing. I’m just bouncing around everywhere and the next day I’m on the plane and I look down and I see that ring and I almost teared up because I’m like, ‘Man, this is real.’ It’s not something you wake up from and go on the next day, so I’m excited to be back here this year. I’m trying to get back to that same mindset of just appreciating being here to begin with, but you do want to back that up and you do want to win and do all those things again, so, hopefully, we have a better insight of what our goal is."

YOUR PERCENTAGE OF THE WINNINGS HAD TO BE A PRETTY BIG CHECK. “Yeah, it wasn’t too bad. I was happy with that, for sure."

WHAT HAVE THEY HAD YOU DO? “Trying to have fun. That’s what it’s all about (laughing). I’ve been in New York doing a media tour. I think it was like 23 interviews in one day, so I’m getting pretty good at making up new answers. It’s like, ‘I was battling David Pearson coming into turn four,’ but we’ve just been doing a lot of media stuff and getting ready to come here again, and then we had a little team lunch at the shop the other day just to get the guys fired up. If my race team guys wanted to work in a factory, they could go right down the road to anywhere and work, but they want to be a part of racing and they want to be involved in a sport that you have to be competitive in and work hard and they’ve been working long hours trying to get our Nationwide cars ready and our Cup cars ready. It was a couple weeks ago when we decided we were coming here in the Nationwide car too, so they’ve been working almost 50-60-70 hours a week just getting ready, so those guys are the ones that have been working hard and I just get to enjoy all this and be a part of it."

DID YOU TREAT YOURSELF WITH ANY OF THIS MONEY? “Not really. I was gonna buy a new laptop because mine crashed on the media tour, and then I was on the George Lopez Show and I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to get a new laptop,’ and he’s like, ‘What’s your address? I’ll send you one,’ so it was pretty cool."

YOU WERE IN NEW YORK WHEN THE JEREMY LIN STORY WAS BLOWING UP. “I saw everybody on Twitter talking about the Knicks and going to the game and it’s wild to see the impact that one person can have on a team. As a driver on your team, you’re called to be the leader. You and the crew chief, together you’re kind of the team captains, so, to me, it’s looking at those guys and seeing what they have as leaders and why it makes them so successful. I try to take that, whatever sport it is or whatever business it is and just be a leader. That’s what it’s all about in our sport and communication. Those guys have to pass the ball just like we have to talk to our crew chief and tell them what’s going on or have to come into the pits and not run over our guys when we’re stopping at the board."

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’VE DONE THE LAST YEAR THAT HAS BLOWN YOU AWAY? “There’s been a lot of stuff like that. It would be hard to even write a book about all the stuff that’s happened, but I think when it was the craziest for me was like the second day after the 500. Here I am just a kid who has no idea what’s gonna happen, and I think we were in New York or something like that and I’m on the phone – maybe it was Connecticut, but I’m on the phone with Vice President Joe Biden. I talked to Tim Tebow that day. I met Pamela Anderson, Ellen DeGeneris and George Lopez all on the same day and I’m like, ‘What just happened.’ They were like, ‘Anybody else you want to talk to? We’ll get them on the phone for you.’"

WHAT DID YOU TALK TO PAM ANDERSON ABOUT? “She said I looked like her son, so that was pretty cool."

WHAT WAS IT LIKE IN KENYA WHEN YOU WENT THERE? “Nobody knows a racecar driver and that was kind of cool just being a guy there. What’s wild about people in Kenya is like no matter who are, if you’re from out of town or an American and you show up on their front porch, they’re pulling out chairs and trying to give you food at their little mud huts. They’re incredible people, so I would tell anybody they should go check it out because, to me, it was humbling. These people don’t have hardly anything and here they are they’re kids are so happy. They’ve got their bellies sticking out because they’re malnourished and stuff, but they’re the most pumped kids in the world to be alive. It was an incredible experience."

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT NOT BEING LOCKED IN? “I was making up my own Daytona 500 champion provisional in my head the whole time, so I’m just gonna act like I’m locked in here and just try to qualify on time. I think our car is gonna be fast, so I’m not really that worried about. We qualified in the Top 10, I think, at every restrictor plate race last year – qualified third here, we qualified second in the summer race here – but teams work on their cars. There is a lot of tough competition this year. At the test the Hendrick cars were really fast and the Roush cars were fast – the Gibbs cars – you can’t count anyone out for being fast this year, and my guys have been working hard, too, so, hopefully, I’d like to be on the front row and just be locked into that starting spot would be cool."

ANY TALK ABOUT OBTAINING POINTS FROM ANYBODY? “No. They did last year. They aren’t scared to do that, but I think they’re pretty confident about their cars. Hopefully we don’t eat our words, but I think we’re gonna be all right."

YOU’RE DRIVING ON THE SAND TOMORROW. ANY IDEA WHAT TO DO? “I have not done that. I think maybe in a dune buggy when I was about six with my parents on the beach, but this will be the first time I’ve actually been to where the race track was and then driving to here. That’s gonna be cool."

ANY ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO? “No. I need to go find these older guys and ask them how to not get the car stuck, I guess. I guess stay close to the water where it’s more packed would be what I would guess."

DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH YOUTHFUL ENTHUSIASM YOU HAVE? “Not exactly because I’m living it I guess and you don’t really see it unless you’re looking from the outside in, but I just want to make it fun for you guys, too. I try to not sit here and be dull and give you the same answers that anybody can give you like, ‘We’re looking forward to this year and winning.’ I just want to have fun with it. That’s why I started this and sometimes we lose that. We get in the middle of racing and we get the stress and the pressure of running good and we lose why we began doing it in the first place, so I want to make it fun for everybody around me, whether it’s you guys or myself or my team."

WHEN DID YOU GO ON THIS MISSION? “It was with a group. They’re an awesome group and have campuses all around the world and just do discipleship training. It’s a Christian school and then they send them out for like three months doing trips and mission work. I was there at the end of January."

WHAT WAS A DAY LIKE THERE? “You wake up at five in the morning because the mosques are just blaring their prayers and stuff, so you wake up and get on with your day. About eight o’clock we’d go out and just start hanging out with the kids and stuff, and we’d do ministry stuff all day long. Around seven or eight o’clock you’d kind of wrap it up and maybe go hit up the little village market there or something and we went on a safari one day, which was incredible. I saw everything. Every animal you see on National Geographic we were there watching it. It was cool."

RICKY IS LOCKED INTO THE 500. ANY TALK OF WORKING TOGETHER? “Not yet. We’ll kind of see what happens when we get going here. He’s obviously in the fourth Roush car, so you have that even number stuff, but I think it’s gonna be cool this year how there is not driver communication. Nobody has really asked me about that, but I think it’s awesome because it goes back to what I had last year. Bobby Labonte didn’t have my radio channel. I didn’t have his. On that last restart we were just kind of going on faith that we were working together and that it would work out and it worked out good, so I like every man for himself, but you have to work together. Hopefully, I’m not the guy who gets used up and we’ll work together. If Ricky and I are by each other, we’ll definitely be pushing."

WHAT IS DIFFERENT FOR YOU COMING INTO THE TRACK THIS YEAR? “It was unbelievable. It’s been everything and more than I would have ever expected, but I didn’t expect it. That’s what made it so sweet last year is our expectations were Top 15. We were just coming in to finish the race. We finished 17th in Texas, so I was like, ‘Man, I need to get a Top 15 this week.’ When I was running second behind David Ragan I was like, ‘Man, this is cool.’ Leading the last lap I was like, ‘I can tell my friends I led the Daytona 500,’ but I never expected – even on the last lap – that we were gonna win it. So coming back here and being called the champion, I still don’t think right now that I understand it. I can honestly say that in five years I’ll look back at it and appreciate it more than I do right now, and I already feel like I appreciate it to the max, but I’m sure later on it’ll mean even more to me."

DOES THE MEMORY OF THAT LAST LAP COME FLOODING BACK WHEN YOU COME HERE? “Yeah. Like when we came back in July and we were going around the track for the first lap in practice and I saw the start-finish line coming up, I got that whole feeling of being tense and nervous. Every time I watch it on TV it’s the same thing. I turn my back on it because I still get nervous that something is gonna happen, so it’s the same deal every time."

IS IT COOL TO BE CHRISTIAN? “It is cool to be Christian. I think it’s cool we have support now. We both want to be good role models and we want to live out our faith and be who we say we are. We don’t say we’re perfect and that’s what’s cool about it is that being a Christian you say that you’re messed up and you need a savior. So I’m excited that I have support with Tim (Tebow) and the way the nation is kind of wrapped around him, and the same thing for me. The support has been unbelievable, but it definitely makes it easier on us to live our faith when people like you guys and when the fans and people like that are supportive of it. That makes it a lot easier on us."

WHAT IS YOUR CHURCH? “I grew up in Baptist church in Knoxville. Fairview Baptist Church."

DO YOU HAVE ANY EYE-BLACK TYPE MARKS LIKE JOHN 3:16 YOU WEAR? “I was gonna wear it under my eyes (laughing). I use my Twitter as kind of an outreach kind of thing, but as far as on my car stuff that’s all team. It’s a little bit different. I try not to push on people too hard, but I just try to live it out. I don’t even want to have to say anything. I want people to look at me and say, ‘There’s something different about this kid. He looks different. He acts different. He has joy.’ All these things and I don’t even want to have to say it, so hopefully people can see without it."

WHAT’S YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO FOLLOW IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS? “You’re gonna miss a lot of birthday parties as a young kid, but it’ll pay off. That’s what I always say because growing up as a five-year-old I just started out doing it as fun and I had great parents around me that were supportive and I’d just tell them to stay after it because there are gonna be a lot more bad days than good days in our sport. When you’re racing against 30 other teams as a young kid in go-karts or you’re racing against 43 here at this level, there are gonna be 42 losers and one winner, so you’ve got to make the most of every situation. The best thing my parents did was always push me – not make me do a sport, but if I was gonna do it, they held me to be the best at it. We never went around trying to find the easiest competition. When I was eight, I was racing against 12 year olds, or when I was 12 I was racing against 15 years olds, so I really appreciate what my parents did there."

WHERE IS YOUR 500 TROPHY? “I go home to Knoxville quite a bit. My whole family is there. I have a condo in Mooresville that I go to during race season, but I love Knoxville. That’s where I grew up. That’s where my family is and my friends. The trophy is still in my room. I don’t have any Tennessee stuff, but it’s funny because the Daytona trophy is sitting right next to all my go-kart trophies and Allison Legacy trophies and all that. The ring is in North Carolina and my Texas trophy is in North Carolina, but that one is at home. I thought it was cool having it there because all my friends that I grew up with and my family can come over and check it out and see it. It’s on my dresser just hanging out. It’s still got Gatorade and confetti on it."

WHO WERE YOUR SPONSORS IN KINDERGARTEN? “Mainly when you’re that age, if you succeed in racing, it’s more of a product sponsorship. All my go-karts were given to me, the engines, the clutches, the seats, the tires. When you can eliminate costs it’s a sponsorship, so that’s kind of what we did then. If we could race for free, then you don’t really need any money to do it."

HAVE YOU STRUCK UP A FRIENDSHIP WITH PEOPLE LIKE TIM TEBOW? “A little bit. We’ll text back and forth every now and then, but it’s not anything huge. Like I said before, I don’t want to use this to gain big celebrity friendships or anything like that. To me, I go back home because I enjoy those people. That’s who I have always enjoyed being around, but it is cool to get the opportunity to talk to those people and if they reach out I’m pumped about it, but I don’t really go out there and chase them and be like, ‘I need to be friends with the president.’ They’re just people, so I enjoy it."

ANY POINT WHERE YOU LOOKED FOR A MORE SOLID RIDE FOR THIS YEAR? “I’m locked into Roush and then they can kind of put me wherever, so Roush Fenway has a great relationship with the Wood Brothers. It’s cool to have that opportunity because I could be running Nationwide for Roush and nothing else, but they saw that in me and put me in the Wood Brothers car. And for the Wood Brothers to allow Roush to do that, they could be developing their own driver, but they believe in me and it’s almost like being a part of the family there. I think for this point in my career the Wood Brothers is the best place for me to be. If we could run full-time, that would be better, but I enjoy that family and just the support that they give me.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Trevor Bayne , Richard Petty , Donnie Allison , David Ragan , David Pearson
Teams Roush Fenway Racing
Tags bayne, ford, roush