[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”233″][/media-credit]“Winning doesn’t come easy when you get to these top levels. To me, it’s been taking it in, appreciating the good days, not getting down on the bad days. It’s such an up and down sport. It’s really a roller coaster. You also got to ride the momentum when you have it and stay behind your guys and work hard together. It’s all about chemistry and having a team behind you that believes in you.”
For Trevor Bayne, this season has been a roller coaster ride along with the question as to how many races he is going to be able to compete in this season.
In the Nationwide Series so far this year, Bayne has finished in the top-11 in every race this year.
“I think that’s about all you can ask for with the limited amount of people and cars we have because we weren’t preparing on running of the races,” he says while sitting third in points, 29 points behind Elliott Sadler.
Bayne’s Roush-Fenway Racing (RFR) knew coming into this year they would be running a limited schedule because of the lack of sponsorship they currently had. Bayne says it’s tough. He adds that it used to be if you ran well, you’d be able to find that sponsorship.
“Now its about relationship, who you know and that’s makes it tough,” the 21-year-old says. “We’ve done a great job on and off the track and we should have something going on.
“It’d be great to get with a company, work with them and represent them to have some kind of long-term security in this sport. So being with a company and growing their brand is what helps you stay in this sport for a long time and that’s what I want to do.”
Bayne is trying to put the money together for this season, launching a campaign where fans can sponsor him in August at Bristol Motor Speedway. He says it started due to a guy from his hometown in Knoxville, Tennesse.
“He has a couple different websites and a couple different companies. He’s kind of an innovator and investor,” he explains. “He came up with the idea and decided to put it on the car,”
Fans can go to http://www.yourracecar.com and for a $20 sponsorship, they can get their name on the car and a certificate they can print saying they sponsored. If they want their photo on the car, then they can sponsor Bayne for $99.
“It’s taken off pretty really well,” Bayne says. “A lot of people have gone on and put their name on the car, their picture on the car and I think it’s a great idea. We would love to do as many races as we can do by getting funded by the fans so the more people give, the more I get to race and the more track I get to go to and run for the championship.”
Bayne started in racing at the age of five as both his grandparents were racers. One involved with cars and one involved with boats.
“My family knew speed,” he tells the story. “I actually got my first dirt bike when I was three years old and started riding around with training wheels, and when I turned four, took the training wheels off. When I turned five, I got my first go-kart, went to the race track and just fell in love with it. From the first time I went there, I knew that’s what I wanted to do and I never looked back from that.”
He has continued to move up the racing ladder, one of the toughest challenges he has found is finding that opportunity.
“I’ve always been very blessed, always came across the right people at the right time and the opportunity has been there,” he says. “For a lot of people, they don’t get that. Some of the best racecar drivers don’t get the chance cause they don’t come across the right people. So I’m blessed, but it’s still an issue.”
Bayne adds that it is still about finding that opportunity to connect with the sponsors, saying that “Every driver thinks they’re the best – it’s just convincing everybody else of that to get the support around you and behind you so you can go to the race track and show it.”
After racing the first 28 races of the 2010 Nationwide Series season for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010, he caught the eye of Jack Roush and joined RFR in October of 2010. While racing for Roush, he has also had the opportunity to form a good friendship with teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
“We push each other,” he says. “Ricky is one of the best young drivers there is so having him as a teammate, it pushes me and I think that’s the same return for him. When one of us qualifies top three and the other qualifies 10th, we know we got to get on our game. We both feel like we can get it done and we want to push each other as hard as we can. We have fun while we’re doing it. It’s cool that we can stay friends and not get too competitive.”
Jack Roush then helped Bayne land a limited schedule Sprint Cup Series ride with Wood Brothers Racing.
“I love the Wood Brothers,” Bayne says. “I couldn’t ask for a better organization, or family to drive for. It seems weird calling them an organization cause they’re so much just a family.”
In just his second Cup race with the Wood Brothers in 2011, Bayne set the world on fire, winning the Daytona 500.
“I wish I could’ve soaked it in more because it happened so fast, I didn’t realize what was going on,” he says. “I was in such a whirlwind there so I didn’t get to soak it all in. I think slowly it’s kind of coming to me that we actually that.”
Bayne says looking at pictures of everybody smiling in victory lane, the moment is still surreal.
“That was the coolest thing that I could ever do in my career, even if I win another Daytona 500 or a championship,” he says. “I think that was the biggest shock I could have ever made and just do it with the Wood Brothers and their family and just the way it came together was just so picture perfect.”
Going back and forth between the two organizations has given Bayne a look at the best of both worlds.
Looking down the road five years in advance, Bayne says he sees himself as either a Sprint Cup Series Champion or at least contending to the make the Chase, but it all “depends on the opportunity, where I’m at, the sponsorship and how much I get to race.”
Whether Bayne is at the track or away from it, he stands by his belief for God and before going to Daytona this year, he took a trip to Africa to help the people there and says it was incredible.
“It’s just unbelievable the joy that they had,” he says. “The joy that they had, the peace, the smiles on their faces even though they’re living in shacks, mud huts. We got to do a lot of outreach and ministry stuff and led about nine people to Jesus. I felt like it was a really successful trip. I really felt like God was behind us on it and I enjoyed it a lot.”