He is mature well beyond his years. And he expresses a unique, and refreshing, perspective on life and all the good and bad therein.
Bayne made his first appearance in front of the media since he was sidelined from competition due to a mysterious, and as yet undiagnosed, illness.
The last time he competed in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race was at Talladega on April 17.
Afterward he began to suffer symptoms of inflammation, double vision, weariness and nausea, among others. It was thought he might have had a major reaction to an insect bite.
His employers at Roush Fenway Racing removed him from competition and, over a period of several weeks, had him thoroughly checked out by doctors and even sent, twice, to the prestigious Mayo Clinic.
Bayne, the surprising and popular winner of the Daytona 500 in the Wood Brothers Racing Ford, was eligible for the NASCAR All-Star Race, but was held back. It disappointed him.
Nor will he race in the Coca-Cola 600. His seat has been given to Roush teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., a friend.
Bayne’s next start will be in the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland on June 4 and then he’ll return to the Wood Brothers at Michigan on June 18.
“I’ve been feeling fine for over a week now,” Bayne said. “Last weekend I took off as a caution and they made me take off this week as a caution.
“They have been way over the top, cautious on everything. This weekend I would have been fine to run, but I think we want to just make sure.”
Bayne is just 20 years old and was a virtual unknown until his Daytona 500 victory. Since that time he has become vastly familiar to racing fans, young and old alike.
In the weeks after his victory, Bayne set out on a whirlwind tour of media and personal appearances. Because of his celebrity, youth and good looks he became a hit among the ‘tweeners.”
I don’t believe anyone can say newly found celebrity status has changed Bayne, a level-headed type who believes faith and charity far surpass social status.
We have heard of many celebrities whose only interests and thoughts are about themselves – mind you, certainly not all of them.
And not Bayne. When he made his opening remarks at the press conference, he didn’t talk about himself. Rather, he expressed gratitude to others and appreciation for being allowed to do what he loves.
“It’s been a real eye opener of how supportive everyone in our sport is,” Bayne said. “I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned through all of this.
“Carl Edwards flew up and saw me in Minnesota (location of the Mayo clinic) and Tony Stewart was using his plane to fly my family back and forth. Jack (Roush) was sending me back and forth on his plane and Michael McDowell was with me for five days.
“Another thing that has been put into perspective for me is how blessed we are to be race car drivers. We get wrapped up sometimes and go through the motions, but when you have to sit there for four or five weeks and watch races, you realize how cool it is that you get to be the one driving it.”
At the Mayo Clinic, Bayne underwent virtually every test imaginable, including an MRI and spinal taps.
“Spinal taps at midnight aren’t exactly what you are looking forward to, but they happen,” Bayne said.
At one point, Bayne said, he had 16 needles in his body at once, along with shock pads and “things I didn’t even know existed.”
But in the end, doctors could not pinpoint the cause of his illness.
“It’s not terminal or anything like that,” Bayne said. “I head somebody say cancer or leukemia but those aren’t words I heard in the hospital. They ruled out all those things.
“I am hoping it was a temporary inflammation that caused it all and it has been going away, as they said from day one. It should be a four-week deal and then go away.”
It’s now gone away long enough for Bayne to return to racing less than a week after the Coca-Cola 600. Hopefully he’s missed his last races of the season because of any mysterious malady.
Bayne was, career-wise, as high as any racer could be after his Daytona win. Then he had to sit out for several weeks through no fault of his own.
Under those circumstances, it could be understood if any competitor said, “Why me?”
Bayne never said that. Instead, he philosophized and reasoned that what has happened has, in fact, helped him be a better man.
“This year is just helping me figure out what I’m made of,” Bayne said. “If you can handle the biggest high you can have and then the lowest bottom, the rest of the year should be easy from here.
“I didn’t want to go from the top to the bottom but luckily I do have my faith and that’s what defines me. If I was defined by anything else I’d be in trouble right now.
“I just am thankful for the ups and downs and everything that has helped me find out what I’m made of and who is there to support me.”
Credit maturity, faith or both – Trevor Bayne expresses wisdom far beyond his age.