Malady A Mystery But Bayne Bouncing Back
By Rick Minter| Senior Writer
Concord, N.C. – An upbeat Trevor Bayne said his doctors, even those at the Mayo Clinic, never diagnosed exactly what caused him to have double vision and inflammation, but he was sure that he was thankful for the “eye-opener” that came with having to sit out of
racing for several weeks.
He said his time in and out of hospitals over the last month or so gave him a chance to realize how blessed he is to be a professional race driver.
“If you have to watch for five or six weeks, you realize how cool it is to be a driver,” He said. “I’m thankful for the eye-opener.”
Bayne and Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, said doctors have cleared the Daytona 500 winner to return to the track, even as he’s still on an antibiotic routine. “They’re comfortable that I’m fine now,” Bayne said. “I’m hoping it was just a temporary inflammation that caused that.”
But Bayne was more interested in talking about the people in and out of the sport who stood by him during his illness.
Carl Edwards came and played guitar. Michael McDowell spent five days with him in the hospital. Tony Stewart sent his plane to fly Bayne’s family back and forth to the hospital. And the Wood Brothers, who own the No. 21 Ford that Bayne drove to victory in the
Daytona 500, were there by his side throughout the whole ordeal, assuring him that his seat was safe.
He said the Woods told him: “Your car’s going to be here. That helped me a lot, took away a lot of concern.”
Bayne said he felt ready to return to racing a week ago, but the decision was made to hold him out of the All-Star race after a test at Rockingham Speedway that fatigued him more than he expected.
Then a similar move was made for the Coca-Cola 600 weekend, out of an abundance of caution, in spite of a successful test at Virginia International Raceway that didn’t tax him.
But Bayne said he’s ready to get back to work, in his Nationwide Series car at Chicagoland Speedway next week and in the Wood Brothers’ car at Michigan on June 18.
“I think we’ve waited long enough,” Bayne said, adding that he never worried that his illness would permanently sideline him from the sport, and he credited his faith for that.
“My biggest concern was: How fast can I get back?” he said. “I had a peace about it. A lot of that was the support from everybody.”
Eddie Wood said he and his family team members took the setback in stride.
“Trevor’s our driver, our guy,” Wood said. “Whatever he’s gone through, we’ve gone through.”
Bayne expressed confidence that his replacement for this weekend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., would be able to qualify the car and race it well. (The Woods, running a limited schedule, have dropped out the top 35 in car owner points and are no longer assured of a starting spot.)
“Ricky’s an awesome kid,” Bayne said. “He’s deserving of (the opportunity to make his Sprint Cup debut). I think he’ll do a great job.”
Bayne said he’s encouraged Stenhouse to enjoy the experience of his Cup debut, something Bayne himself didn’t do in his first Cup start, at Texas last year.
“I forgot to take in the whole thing,” Bayne said.
Kevin Harvick, who listened to much of Bayne’s press conference while waiting for his own to start, said he is impressed with Bayne and the way he’s handled the cards he was dealt.
“He handled it well,” Harvick said. “He’ll be around a long time.”
Harvick also said he liked what he’s seen in Bayne, even before his illness.
“He doesn’t get rattled by too much,” Harvick said. “He’s a good kid.”
Harvick also pointed out how enthusiastic Bayne is and how good that is for a race team.
“He just bleeds enthusiasm,” Harvick said. “It spreads to everyone on the team.”
– Rick Minter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgOne Comment