Trevor Bayne became the seventh driver to earn his first win in the Daytona 500, doing it in just his second NASCAR Sprint Cup series start. He also became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history, just one day past his 20th birthday. Bayne also recorded Ford's 600th victory and talked about the whirlwind he has been part of since claiming the checkers in Daytona.
How has your mindset changed since you took the checkered flag on Sunday?
“I still haven't had a chance to let it sink in yet. We have been go, go, go since the race. As soon as I get 10-seconds to slow down and it starts to hit me it will be crazy. I never knew that it would be this big. I knew the 500 was huge and it has been my dream since I was five years old, but this is a really cool deal I am getting to experience.”
How is your energy level? What has been the high point of this week and what do you expect will be the response from other drivers when you walk through the gate at Phoenix later this week?
“You know, at first I was just in shock. I didn't know what to say and I was nervous in my interviews because I wanted to do it justice and explain what a big deal this was for the Wood Brothers and [crew chief] Donnie Wingo. I was scared to take any credit because as I talked about earlier, I felt weird coming in and winning our first one with all the other drivers who have been doing this so long. Now after seeing their support it helped me realize that we did earn this thing.
"I have been working at this since I was five years old. There is nobody that deserves this more than Leonard, Len, Eddie and Glen Wood – they have worked their butts off, and Donnie Wingo in his 31st Daytona 500. Now it is starting to set in a little bit. We are so excited about it. I don't know how to thank them enough for the opportunity to drive that racecar and be in the position to win. It is taking its time to sink in. The high point was probably when the White House called and said that the President was going to want to talk to me in the next couple of days. I still haven't talked to him yet. I had no idea who it was. A private number came up on my phone. I have had so many calls and texts from folks including Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon; all showing their support, but the White House was the one that stunned me the most.”
Now that NASCAR has basically defined what would happen if you chose to deselect Nationwide and select Cup, have you had any more thoughts about it and have you decided what you will do?
“I think I am going to stay with Nationwide. I think it is a great thing they are doing for the sport for the young drivers there to be able to rise up as champions. Nothing has really changed for me other than that I am the Daytona 500 champion, which is really incredible. I think we are still going to have an awesome year for Roush Fenway running for that Nationwide championship. Obviously, we still have a blank car and I would love to get some partners on it, but as of now we are still running for it full time over there. The Wood Brothers only have 18 races, 17 filled with Motorcraft and Quick Lane, which is really good support, but the 18th race is one we will run at Martinsville with the funds we got from Daytona. I am still not full-time Cup and I am going to run for the championship in Nationwide. I don't regret any of our decisions there. We are off to a good start in both series with a 10th and a first.���
Do you have the sense that you have done something that is of championship quality right now?
“I am starting to take that in a little bit, just because of all the hype around it. I have always known that this is an incredible thing and an incredible race but it is an even bigger deal than I ever expected. I always wondered what it was that separated the Daytona 500 from all the other races. Why it was that it meant so much to Mark Martin that he hasn't won one yet or when Dale Sr. finally got his win. Now I am starting to see it. The Daytona 500 is a big deal and it is so cool to win it. I just feel so blessed to have that good of a racecar that I was in that position to make the moves I made and be guided. I can't describe how crazy it is that God surrounded me with these quality people and equipment and made it come together that perfect on our first ever attempt.”
How much fun has it been for you and your family to be in the limelight for the last day and a half?
“I am finally starting to enjoy it a little bit. At first I was nervous and didn't know what to do and who to thank and what to say on all the interviews. I have learned to just be me. I am thankful for everything that has happened and I want to stay humble. Now it is starting to set in and I am enjoying the interviews and having a good time with all the people. It is becoming a lot of fun and I am getting to enjoy this win a lot more than I expected in the last few days.
"For my family, it is unbelievable how they are taking it in, too. There are reporters in Knoxville calling my friends and my brother and mom and dad and sister. It is fun to see them get some credibility from it too because they are my supporting factor. They are the ones who keep me sane off the track. They are sending me pictures of billboards in my hometown of Knoxville with congratulations messages on it from the movie theater to my elementary school. Just to see the hometown support and the national support is indescribable. It is way more than I ever expected it to be.”