The shock rookie winner of the 2011 Daytona 500 Trevor Bayne will return for Wood Brothers Racing with the same grounded approach as last year. Bayne, who won the 500 in only his second ever Cup event, believes that the knowledge of having won the race before will have little bearing on his preparations for the 'Great American Race' this time around.
“I’m kind of the same mindset that I was last year,” the 20-year old said.
“Last year I came in thinking there’s no way we can win this, and now I’m coming back saying there’s no way we can win two in a row. But then the Wood Brothers keep showing up with great race cars and they keep showing up with the guys that can do it and that can win, and I think that’s what’s so important.”
Bayne's breakthrough victory was the first for the famous #21 Wood Brothers Ford since Elliot Sadler's win at Bristol in 2001, but until recently there was a level of doubt as to whether he would be back to defend his crown. Bayne was kept in the dark throughout the off-season, with Roush stablemate and newly crowned NASCAR Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rumoured to be in talks. However, it all fell into place last week, with Bayne being retained by the Wood Brothers and Stenhouse stepping into the #6 Roush Ford vacated by David Ragan.
“All offseason long we didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said.
“I kind of sat back to see if I was going to be running a Nationwide car or a Cup car or what I’d be doing. Nobody really knew. I think even the Wood Brothers were at a loss for words for a little while. And then finally it all came back together that we could be together again, and there’s no better team for me to be driving for I don’t think. I think the Wood Brothers are great racers that have done it for a long time, and they just want to race.”
Sidelined for much of the 2011 season after being diagnosed with Lyme disease, Bayne fought back to fitness to win his first Nationwide Series event at Texas in November, and is confident that he can carry his form into the 2012 season.
“It’s an honour to drive for the oldest team in NASCAR that’s still standing, and it’s no wonder that they’re still winning races, and I think we can do it again this year. We’re just going to have to work really hard at it.”