In a year marked by the emergence of unlikely sports stars like Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin – young men who seemingly came out of nowhere to dominate headlines – Trevor Bayne crossed the miraculous finish line first.
Racing as a promising rookie in the 2011 Daytona 500, his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race, Bayne survived crash-plagued late laps to win a two lap dash to his first series victory on the biggest stage of them all.
The native of Knoxville, Tenn. became the youngest racer ever to win Daytona that day. While he struggled to find victory lane again during the 2011 race for the Spring Cup due to health problems, his popularity and fame were already guaranteed.
During a media event in Charlotte, Bayne met with the press to talk about his success, his skill and his faith in the future.
Crave Online: You’re a year removed from your rookie win at the 2011 Daytona 500. You struggled at times after that win. Does a year’s time and more racing help put your win in the 500 last February into perspective?
Trevor Bayne: Not really. I can never talk enough about winning that race. It didn’t seem real. As I said before, if I try to put it into words, I don’t do a very good job. I know I haven’t done Daytona any justice with my comments on how it all felt. I think I feel about it the way most of (everyone else) feels about it. To get that win as my first win in NASCAR – and my first win at any of the major racing series – it was a shock for me, too. A dream, and a blessing.
Crave Online: Were you able to take it all in as you crossed the finish line?
Trevor Bayne: You don’t get to enjoy victory lane as much as you think you might because of all of the interviews I had to do. But, it hit me on the plane the next day, and I got emotional.
Crave Online: In the midst of last year’s season, you experienced double vision. How did you handle that setback emotionally?
Trevor Bayne: It was all part of the experience we had – all part of the important learning we all needed to do. We didn’t expect the highs or the lows. We were out for five weeks during the season because of my double vision. It just made it a little more wild year, and we learned what what were made of because of those five weeks.
Crave Online: Your life obviously changed literally overnight. How did you handle how those changes affected your world?
Trevor Bayne: I am blessed. I came from a great family which gave me a good foundation. I also have my faith and I credit that faith in Jesus Christ for helping me get to that moment and helping me to handle everything that came our way afterward.
Crave Online: With a new Sprint Cup season here, what are your goals – besides winning it all?
Trevor Bayne: We’re just looking to take what we learned last year and apply it to this new season so we can win a few more races.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS