Meet Trevor Bayne, America’s Youngest Daytona 500 Champion

By Mike Savicki


When you win the Daytona 500, it’s fair to say you pretty much have free reign to do whatever you want on the grounds of the Daytona International Speedway. Trevor Bayne celebrated his historic win by breaking out the long board. “My friends and I cruised around the infield all night after the five hundred,” Bayne explains.


That’s a pretty cool way to let the racing world know how the new champ likes to roll.


It’s also fair to say that a win in just your second Cup start on the day after turning 20 can lead to a few changes in plans. Bayne says he loves the peace and quiet of long road trips and drove his truck to Daytona thinking he’d also be the one driving it back to his home in Mooresville after the race. A private jet and a two-week national media tour took precedent. What happened to the truck?  “My dad drove my truck back to Charlotte after the 500,” jokes Trevor Bayne.


The season continues, and climbing back into the car in the weeks that followed was a challenge for the driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford. “I found myself trying way too hard at Phoenix and Las Vegas instead of being patient,” Bayne recalls.


On top of the self-imposed pressure, you’d think the Knoxville native might catch some slack in the garage for becoming the youngest winner of the Great American Race, but Trevor Bayne says the attention and support he is receiving is quite the opposite. He explains, “All the guys have been very supportive of me. They constantly give me great advice for the future.”


But Bayne says listening to others isn’t always the best bet. “My first go-cart race as a kid was a disaster,” Bayne explains. “My dad told me to do whatever I had to do to keep up with the leader of the race. So, I was a ways back and saw the leader from across the track. I cut across the middle of track to catch him instead of staying on the track. I did what Dad told me to do.”


These days, Bayne sticks to the rules on the track but still allows himself some liberties when he’s out of his fire suit. “Everybody knows I am an extreme sports enthusiast. I wakeboard, kiteboard, snowboard and rock climb. The list goes on and on,” he says.


Is there anything he can’t or won’t do? “The only thing I’m not allowed to do is bungee jump or sky dive,” he jokes.


Trevor Bayne knows that one win, even a win in NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl, does not make a season. He adds, “There will be peaks and valleys throughout the year, and we just have to manage our expectations. If we finish top 20 we should be okay with that and learn from that experience and get better the next race.”


He also knows that sudden fame won’t change him. “I still do the same things I did before the five hundred, but I do get recognized a lot more these days. Sometimes it catches me off guard if we are in a non-race city and someone asks for an autograph. It’s so cool and very humbling to me that people want my autograph,” he offers.


With warm weather approaching, Bayne says he is looking forward to getting out on the water. “I wakeboard on Lake Norman as much as I can in the summer. Always jamming out on the lake,” he exclaims. Keep your eyes peeled – Bayne says he’s working on a Raley, Scarecrow and toe-side 3.


And what about those times when this champ just wants to chill? “If I have free time, I love playing my guitar and listening to music. It is so relaxing and I just zone out.”


Fair enough. He has earned some quiet time.


This article was originally published in the May 2011 edition of Currents Magazine.