Daytona 500 winner, Trevor Bayne, talks with GMP about being the youngest driver to win the big race, manhood, and his many pastimes.
Nearly a year ago, Trevor Bayne became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500. At only 20 years of age, Bayne prepares for his second chance at victory, but not before speaking to us about NASCAR and being a good man.
You are the youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500. Take us through that day one more time.
It was just surreal. An amazing opportunity to race with the greatest in the sport, and to win it so early in my career is just great. It is a moment I will never forget.
Describe the feeling of pulling into Victory Lane?
Well, I had to get directed there because I had no idea where Victory Lane was. I actually drove past it instead of turning. But overall it is just a magnificent feeling, unlike anything else.
Who taught you about manhood?
I’d have to say my dad. I grew up in a christian household, which was always supportive and nurturing. My dad taught me that anyone can be a man, but not everyone can be a good man.
What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you?
Jimmie Johnson told me to “keep the blinders on.” That was really great advice and I think it helped me get to where I am today in the racing world.
What’s the worst advice anyone’s ever given you?
That’s a tough one. You meet so many people throughout your life and sometimes they give you bad advice. I think the most important thing is that no matter what the advice is you turn into a learning experience.
What’s your biggest mistake, and what did you learn from it?
I’m human. I’m flesh and blood, so naturally I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. I don’t think it’s so important what the mistake is, but rather that you were able to learn and grow from that mistake.
Who is the best man you know, and how did he earn that distinction?
Both my manager and my pastor come to mind. They live such spiritual and happy lives and taught me a lot about being a good and humble man.
Have you been more successful in your public or private life?
For me, I don’t see how you can separate the two. They are one in the same. I don’t want to be someone different for the public when I can just be myself. I love what I do, so really, my public life is my private life.
What is your most cherished ritual as a guy?
I don’t know if I have a ritual. I do cherish the moments where I can just be by myself and read the bible, knowing that I am learning and growing as a person. I also love spending time with my family in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’ve been in Charlotte a lot because of my race team, but I love going back home and hanging out with my eight-year-old brother and being a positive influence on him.
When was the last time you cried?
Well the last time I cried publicly was when I teared up after winning the Daytona 500. I have experienced a few deaths in the family this past year and my girlfriend’s grandmother is very sick, so that’s always hard. I’m very open with my emotions and I have no problem admitting that.
What are you addicted to?
I have a very addictive personality, but I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to anything. My friends joke around a lot and say I always have a new sport of the week. One week I’ll be racing RC cars, the next week I’ll be playing golf, and the week after that I’ll be playing the guitar. So maybe I get addicted to things, but it never lasts long.
What do you have to say to anyone who may not be too familiar with NASCAR?
A lot of my friends are younger than me and weren’t too familiar with the sport, but once they went to see a race they loved it. I’d say that once you see a race live you realize how exciting and enjoyable it is.
Do you feel that there is a lot of pressure on you as we approach this years Daytona 500?
I do, but I feel we have prepared the right way. I just have to go into the race with the same mindset as last year.
The 2012 Daytona 500 starts at 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, February 26, 2012, and it will be shown live on Fox.
—AP Photo/Sports Illustrated