Fairy Tales Do Come True, Just Ask Trevor Bayne, Daytona 500 Winner

For Trevor Bayne, fresh off his 20th birthday and in only his second race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, dreams really do come true.  Bayne became the youngest winner of “The Great American Race”, the Daytona 500.

[media-credit name=”David Yeazell” align=”alignright” width=”281″][/media-credit]”I keep thinking I’m dreaming, I really do,” Bayne said in Victory Lane. “We said a prayer before the race and this just shows how powerful God is and the good job these guys did on this race car. This is just incredible.”

“I drove down here in my F150 and I was planning to drive back, but I think someone else will have to drive it back for me,” Bayne said, acknowledging that he must now do his Daytona 500 duties in New York City as the race winner. “I guess I will have to call someone to get some clothes down here.”

“This is so crazy,” Bayne continued. “I felt a little undeserving, but I’m just glad that I got to be the guy behind the wheel to get the win.”

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Bayne’s team owners Eddie and Len Wood were beside themselves after the win. It was so emotional that they both, particularly Eddie Wood, had to stop talking several times to get their tears in check.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” owner Eddie Wood said, with a hitch in his voice. “We’ve struggled just to make the Daytona 500.”

“It’s unbelievable we are sitting here,” Wood continued. “Trevor Bayne did such a good job. Now he is a Daytona 500 winner.”

Donnie Wingo, Bayne’s crew chief, was also elated at his driver and team’s success.

“I couldn’t be happier and the job the kid done today, you couldn’t ask for anything else,” Donnie Wingo, crew chief, said. “At the end, he did what he needed to do.”

“He just might be the next big deal.”

The race not only left Trevor Bayne and his car owners and crew chief shaking in disbelief, but many of the other drivers as well. There were a record 74 lead changes, a record 22 different race leaders, and a record 16 cautions in the event.

“I’ve never run one like that,” veteran Terry Labonte, driver of the No. 32 U.S. Chrome Ford Fusion, said. “It’s a good thing the race wasn’t much longer because we were about done.” Labonte finished the race in the 15th position.

Just as in the Bud Shootout and the Gatorade Duels, this running of the Daytona 500 necessitated a dance partner, with all cars running in the now familiar duo pack. The tandem racing put even more pressure on the spotters, who were not only having to guide their drivers around the track but strategize on the spotter stand as to who to partner up with next.

“It was a pretty crazy day overall,” Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota, said. “Everything was just all over the place and pretty nuts.”

Busch had his own set of challenges, spinning early in the race on lap 4 after getting tagged by his pusher, who was at the time Michael Waltrip.  Busch managed to recover and snag a top-ten finish, scoring in the eighth spot.

Another major factor in the race was engine failure, especially given the hotter ambient temperature at Daytona. Both Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton lost their engines, an anomaly for sure for ECR engines.

Harvick denied any forewarning of his engine failure, saying “No, it just let loose.”

“I just blew water out of the bottom of the thing,” Harvick continued. “I hadn’t done anything different.”

Burton echoed his teammate’s sentiments about the engine failure.

“We are asking a lot out of the engines here for sure,” Burton said. “These are tough situations. I thought we were well within our limits but maybe not.”

It would not be a Daytona 500 without the “big one” and this was delivered at lap 29 of the race.  Fourteen cars were involved, including three of the Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Mark Martin, taking them for the most part out of race contention.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., in the spotlight due to the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of his father’s death at Daytona, also had a good run, at least until the final laps of the race when a crash took him out of contention. Earnhardt came in 24th, after claiming the pole, wrecking in practice, and starting from the rear of the field.

“We run good,” Earnhardt, Jr. said. “I had as much fun as I could under the circumstances. It was wild.”

Carl Edwards took the runner up spot to Bayne’s fairy tale ending.

“Trevor, he did a good job of blocking the bottom,” Edwards said. “All day we waited and waited, trying not to tear up the race car.”

“There at the end, it almost worked out perfectly,” Edwards continued. “We didn’t have a chance to be able to mount up a real charge on him.”

“I think that I can tell you that second place in the Daytona 500 feels way worse than any other position I’ve ever finished in the Daytona 500,” Edwards said. “But that is made better by listening to Trevor and how excited he is. He is really a nice young man, a great guy to represent this sport with this win.”

David Gilliland, veteran Bobby Labonte, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five in “The Great American Race.” The rest of the top ten included Juan Pablo Montoya in sixth, Regan Smith in seventh, Kyle Busch in eighth, Paul Menard in ninth, and Mark Martin, who rebounded from the big one to finish tenth.

Unofficial Race Results

Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway

February 20, 2011 – Race 1 of 36

Pos. St. No. Driver Make Pts. Bon. Laps Status
1 31 21 Trevor Bayne Ford 0 0 208 Running
2 12 99 Carl Edwards Ford 42 0 208 Running
3 5 34 David Gilliland Ford 41 0 208 Running
4 6 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 41 1 208 Running
5 25 22 Kurt Busch Dodge 40 1 208 Running
6 4 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 39 1 208 Running
7 27 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 38 1 208 Running
8 39 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 37 1 208 Running
9 1 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 36 1 208 Running
10 34 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 34 0 208 Running
11 35 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 34 1 208 Running
12 42 9 Bill Elliott Chevrolet 32 0 208 Running
13 3 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 31 0 208 Running
14 18 6 David Ragan Ford 31 1 208 Running
15 37 32 Terry Labonte Ford 30 1 208 Running
16 16 7 Robby Gordon Dodge 29 1 208 Running
17 15 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 28 1 208 Running
18 2 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 27 1 208 Running
19 29 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 26 1 208 Running
20 36 77 Steve Wallace Toyota 0 0 208 Running
21 38 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 24 1 208 Running
22 20 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 24 2 206 Running
23 11 20 Joey Logano Toyota 21 0 206 Running
24 13 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 21 1 202 Running
25 17 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota 19 0 199 Running
26 21 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 19 1 198 In Pit
27 24 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 17 0 189 Running
28 23 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 17 1 173 Running
29 8 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 16 1 166 Running
30 10 0 David Reutimann Toyota 14 0 164 Running
31 30 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 13 0 160 Running
32 7 38 Travis Kvapil Ford 0 0 153 In Pit
33 33 71 Andy Lally * Chevrolet 11 0 149 Running
34 26 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 10 0 133 Running
35 14 16 Greg Biffle Ford 9 10 126 Running
36 32 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 9 1 92 Out
37 19 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 7 0 82 Running
38 40 37 Robert Richardson Jr. Ford 0 0 45 Running
39 22 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 0 0 29 In Pit
40 9 115 Michael Waltrip Toyota 4 0 28 In Pit
41 41 192 Brian Keselowski* Dodge 3 0 28 Running
42 28 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 3 1 22 Out
43 43 46 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 1 0 10 Out

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