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Six Pack: Bayne's checkered past, bright future

August 23, 2011, Joe Menzer,

Daytona 500 winner Bayne says illness was hard, but trip 'home' to Bristol looms

Trevor Bayne, winner of this year's Daytona 500 and a native of Knoxville, Tenn., answers this week's six questions.

1. With the word that the Nationwide Series won't be returning to Nashville, that leaves Bristol Motor Speedway as your lone "home track." Can you talk about racing at BMS?

"Usually I get to pig out a little bit, so that's always good, too."


Bayne: I love being back home. ... It's always good to be around family and friends. Racing in Tennessee is always good for me, and I love coming to Bristol. I have considered both Bristol and Nashville my home tracks, but I've been to Bristol a little bit more.

It seems like it's always more fun because you can come back and hang out with family and friends when you're done at the track. Usually I get to pig out a little bit, so that's always good, too.

2. How has racing been for you in Montreal, where the Nationwide Series just ran?

Bayne: That was my first time ever out of the country, when I went to Canada for the Montreal race [in 2010]. That was pretty wild, just to see the different culture and walk around the streets there. It was really cool for me to experience something different like that. And then to see how pumped up the fans were there ... I didn't expect the fans there to be as excited as they were, so that was neat.

As far as the track, it's wild for me to try to figure that place out with the heavy braking and some of the turns. Some of these guys with more experience are good no matter where they go, but I had some work to do to figure that place out. I still do.

3. So are you a fan of University of Tennessee football?

Bayne: Ah, man, I don't know how good they'll be. I'd like to go to a game or two. Growing up in Knoxville my whole life, I always was gone on the weekends and I've still never been to a UT football game. I'm sure some people want to kick me out of Knoxville for that, but I can promise I'll be pulling for 'em. They're usually pretty good and I'm thinking they will be again.

4. After your earlier mysterious illness that caused you to miss several races, how are you feeling these days?

Bayne: Good, man. It's a little hot, but I'm good. ... I had treatment for [Lyme Disease] and that seemed to knock it out, so hopefully that's what I had and it's all done and over with. Carl [Edwards] actually came to visit me when I was [in the Mayo Clinic] and hung out a little bit, so that was cool. But I think it's all gone and we're all good now, whatever it was.

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5. How difficult is it for a driver such as yourself to get out of the car like you had to earlier?

Bayne: I can promise you it's not the easiest thing in the world to go through, watching your car go around and make laps when you're not in it. It's different when you don't have a ride and you're trying to get one. It's tough to be away from the track anytime -- but when you actually have a ride and you don't get to drive it? That's tough, man. Charlotte [last May] was probably the toughest one for me, because I knew that I was well enough to do it -- yet I had to sit there while [Roush Fenway teammate] Matt Kenseth went to Victory Lane [in the Nationwide race in the No. 16 Ford that Bayne usually drives] and Ricky [Stenhouse Jr.] got to make his Cup debut in the No. 21 car I was supposed to be driving.

Both those were great things, but that was a hard thing for me to sit and watch. When you're at the hospital and sitting there, watching on TV, it's actually a little easier. Being there and not being able to get in the car, I would not want to go through that again.

6. Did going through all that change you in any way?

Bayne: I'm just glad to be back. It's something that could have taken me off the scene forever. So fortunately I got to come back here and do what I love to do for a living. Being away from it like that gave me a deeper appreciation for it.

We get so wrapped up in this racing stuff and get so stressed out sometimes; we get so concerned about winning that next race that we forget to enjoy the moment a little bit sometimes. I'll never take it for granted again. I'm just so happy I get to continue to enjoy what I love to do.