News & Media

Replaced at CMS by Stenhouse, Bayne anxious to return

May 26, 2011, Joe Menzer,

CONCORD, N.C. -- Replaced at CMS by friend and teammate Stenhouse, Bayne anxious to return

It really has been only three months since Trevor Bayne shocked the racing world by winning the Daytona 500.

It just seems longer -- especially to Bayne, who met with the media Thursday to discuss why he's not racing again this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bayne had hoped to do so, but announced instead that he will make his return in the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland on June 4 after more than a month-long absence for a still-unidentified illness.

"I went to bed on a Monday night feeling great and woke up Tuesday and I was seeing two of stuff. And that wasn't cool."


Bayne has not raced in the Sprint Cup Series since crashing out of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega on April 17. He hasn't raced at all since finishing sixth in the Nashville 300, a Nationwide Series race held six days later.

It was shortly thereafter when Bayne woke up one day experiencing fatigue, nausea and -- he said Friday -- double vision.

"I went to bed on a Monday night feeling great and woke up Tuesday and I was seeing two of stuff. And that wasn't cool," Bayne said.

That put Bayne's racing career on hold and sent him on a wild chase to find out what was wrong.

His problems first started in early April, less than two months after winning the Daytona 500 in the No. 21 Ford he had signed on to drive part-time for Wood Brothers Racing. Immediately, he became the toast of NASCAR -- but his season, his life, started turning even stranger very quickly afterward.

During the week before he ran 17th in the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, his left elbow swelled to twice its normal size. When that was followed by a rash in the same area, he and doctors initially surmised that he was having some kind of allergic reaction to an insect bite.

He raced both the Nationwide and Cup races the following weekend in Talladega, and then competed in the Nationwide event at Nashville the one after that. But then came that fateful Tuesday morning when he knew something more was wrong than he or anyone else originally realized.

That eventually led him to make two trips to the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he underwent a seemingly endless battery of more tests. The theory about the insect bite was ruled out. Eventually, so was virtually everything else.

"I went to the hospital and had the best doctors in the world at the Mayo Clinic checking me out, and they don't know," Bayne said. "I have had to accept that. They treated me for things that they thought it could be, just like that bite, whether it was Lyme [disease] or not. They don't have any evidence of that, but they treated it just to knock it out and since then all my symptoms have gone away.

"Everything is pretty much 100 percent back to normal and that is pretty exciting."

Bayne said he has felt fine "for over a week now" and that he had hoped to be able to race the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing in last Saturday's All-Star Race -- in which he earned a spot by virtue of his upset win in the Daytona 500. He also said he had hoped to compete in this Saturday's Nationwide race and Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.

"I took last weekend off as a precaution and this week they made me take off as a precaution," he said. "Chicago should definitely be over the top as far as being cautious on what could spark anything. ... Missing the All-Star Race kind of crushed me, but we are back now and as ready to go as ever."

"Trevor is our guy and he's our driver and whatever he's going through, we are all going through."


Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, insisted that Bayne is more than ready to resume his racing career, both physically and mentally.

"The doctors that he has seen -- which have been multiple, particularly at the Mayo Clinic -- have cleared him as being fit for racing," Newmark said. "Even though there is no official diagnosis and they can't tell us the root cause, they've run all the tests and done everything possible they can do to him and they have declared him fit to get back on the race track."

Newmark said he was even more confident about getting Bayne back behind the wheel for an actual race after testing over the past two weeks at Rockingham and Virginia International Raceway, where Newmark said Bayne ran "extremely well and was fast."

Yet Newmark and Eddie Wood, co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing, said they were in agreement to wait until the June 4 Nationwide event at Chicagoland to let Bayne back behind the wheel in a competitive event. When his illness struck, Bayne was driving the No. 16 Ford full-time for Roush Fenway in the Nationwide Series, and was driving the No. 21 Ford part-time for Wood Brothers on the Cup side.

Wood said Bayne's return in Cup is slated for June 19 at Michigan. He will be replaced in the No. 21 car for this Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bayne's close friend and Roush Fenway teammate on the Nationwide side.

Wood admitted it has been a crazy year, full of unexpected turns both for the good and for the bad.

"Trevor is our guy and he's our driver and whatever he's going through, we are all going through," Wood said. "We have tried to make the best of it. When you're as old as we are, you have seen all of it, done all of it and been to the bottom and the top of it. You have been almost back to the top, only to fall back down, but it's just racing. You just take it and go."

That is what Bayne figured out how to do during the uncertain period when he underwent test after test, only to learn in the end that no one could figure out exactly what was wrong with him. He said again that he relied on his deep faith in God to pull him through.

"I know at one point, I had like 16 needles in my body at once -- and shock pads and stuff that I didn't even know existed. The Mayo Clinic does a great job and I think they definitely went over the top on testing me for everything possible," Bayne said.

"My biggest concern was how fast could I get back. I was asking the doctors every day how long it would take. For some reason, God put peace in my heart. You would think that the first day when I woke up and asked my roommate if I was cross-eyed or something that I would have been freaking out. But I was just like, 'Well, let's go to the doctor, boys.' So we loaded up and went to the doctor and I had a peace about it."