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Woody: Bayne Getting Better, Eager To Catch Up

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, July 23 2011

Trevor Bayne continues his battle back to the top at Nashville this weekend. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Gladeville, Tenn. – Talented young Tennessee racer Trevor Bayne says he has had no recurring problems from the mysterious illness that sidelined him earlier in the season.

“I feel fine, no problems at all,” Bayne said Friday at Nashville Superspeedway, where he will compete in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race.

“I’m scheduled to go back for some more tests in a few weeks, but right now I’m fine.”

It’s been a topsy-turvy year for the 20-year-old Knoxville native. He started the season off with a victory in the Daytona 500 driving for the legendary Wood Brothers – one of the most unexpected and stirring victories in the history of NASCAR’s biggest race.

A couple months later, however, he fell ill from a yet-undiagnosed ailment that left him hospitalized and his racing future in limbo.

Bayne made his return a few weeks ago and said he felt ready even earlier, but was ordered by his team to wait for the doctors’ clearance.

“It wasn’t the easiest thing to do to sit out,” he said. “The hardest part was going to the track

Carl Edwards says he needs to race this weekend in Nashville. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

and watching my car go around with someone else driving. I couldn’t do it again. It was too hard.”

Bayne said that as painful as the experience was, he profited from it.

“Sometimes we take things for granted,” he said. “Being away from racing during that period gave me a new appreciation for it. I realized how much I missed it, and now I appreciate it even more.”

Bayne considers a visit to the Superspeedway, located 40 miles east of Nashville, a “Tennessee homecoming.”

“I love coming here,” he said. “I always sign more t-shirts here than I do at other places. And my grandparents get to come here.”

Bayne was joined at Friday’s press conference by Carl Edwards, one of the top drivers in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup Series. Under a new rule, Cup drivers are not eligible for the Nationwide championship but Edwards said that won’t stop him from running as many of the second-tier races as possible.

Instead of taking advantage of this weekend’s open date on the Cup schedule to relax, Edwards headed to Gladeville.

“To me it’s about going to tracks and trying to win races,” he said. “Whether I’m racing against a Nationwide driver or a Cup driver, I want to win.”

Edwards said the rule that assures a Nationwide driver wining the Nationwide championship “is good for the series” and Nationwide-only driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. agreed.

“It’s working out great for me right now,” said Stenhouse, who is third in the championship standings behind Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson. “I feel like the fans are into it.”

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, July 23 2011
One Comment

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  • Terry says:

    Trevor Bayne is a Carl Edwards at barely 20 years old. He can drive and talk smoothly. Not mouth off or try to be clever…..but..
    MEDIA SAVY….like Carl.
    All the drivers and fans love him….again but….
    he will have to ruffle some feathers to race with the veterans.
    They bump him like a rookie when they run next to him. He will have to race them hard…..BUMP THEM BACK…..and then he will get some fans-drivers-teams …..PO’d…
    He can’t be Mr. Nice Kid forever….soooo…go smack a fender KID.