CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Three months after revealing he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Trevor Bayne is feeling just fine.
The 2011 Daytona 500 champion explained the news hasn’t showed him down, especially when it comes to getting ready for the NASCAR season.
“I’ve been training three hours a day,” said the Knoxville driver at the 32nd annual Sprint Media Tour. “From 8 o’clock to 9 o’clock, I work out with a trainer, the next 30 minutes I run and then I swim. Three times a week, I bike for two hours on top of the other workout.”
So far, the 21-year-old driver hasn’t suffered with any symptoms of the disease which attacks the brain and spinal cord. He’s not worried at this point, and isn’t seeing a doctor other than for regularly scheduled checkups. In fact, he’s been pushing himself harder than ever before.
He doesn’t want to be defined strictly by the disease. Instead, he wants to be known as a race car driver set apart for his believes as a Christian.
“To me, this is another part of that story and to show who I am outside of the race car,” said the driver of the No. 6 Roush-Fenway Ford in the Nationwide Series. “I want to face it head on. To support other people, that’s what I’m here for. God has put me through all this to strengthen my faith and to give me a bigger platform. I want to grow the platform because we’re going for race wins and championships.”
Besides his Nationwide Series duties, Bayne is scheduled to run another partial schedule in the Sprint Cup Series for the legendary Wood Brothers team. In his full-time gig in the Nationwide Series, Bayne finished sixth in points and won a race at Iowa last season.
Still, it wasn’t up to the standards he set for himself.
“I feel like we didn’t perform to the level that we hoped to perform,” he said. “I look at Kansas, Indy, Vegas, Iowa, we had a car good enough to win, and we won one of those. The way you look at it, you have to have a car capable of winning 12 races usually to win four or five. We need to have a car that can win up to 12 races and compete for top threes.
“You can’t run eighth to 10th every weekend and expect to pop up a win every now and then. We have to be competitive week in and week out. My guys worked super hard last year, and it definitely wasn’t a lack of effort. But Roush as a whole, we realize we had some weaknesses and we’ve worked hard to fix those weakenesses.”
Although he wasn’t challenging for wins, Bayne was consistent, second only to champion Austin Dillon in points earned for the second half of the season.
Bayne finished 94 points behind Dillon in the final tally, but he can easily see where those points were lost.
“We had a gear break at Daytona, grass on the grill running fourth at Texas and I finished 30th,” he said. “I crashed with the lapped car at Darlington, we crashed at Talladega and we broke the transmission running fifth at Road America with three laps to go. You add those points up and you get to 120 (points) pretty quick.”
He pointed out that a driver doesn’t have to win 10 races to become champion, that Dillon didn’t win a race last season.
However things work out this season, Bayne wants to make sure he savors every moments.
“Nobody is ever sure what is going to happen,” he said. “I have that picture in my mind that I have to appreciate every single day, and make the best of it. That’s what I want to do.”