TREVOR BAYNE, driver No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford and No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford, opening comments:
“I missed you guys. It has been bad being away. It has been incredible to me and a real eye opener of how supportive everyone in our sport is. I think that is the biggest thing I have learned through all of this. Carl Edwards flew up and saw me in Minnesota and Tony Stewart was using his plane to fly my family back and forth and Jack (Roush) was sending me back and forth on his plane and these guys come out and hang out for the night. Michael McDowell is there for five days with me. Everybody in the garage texted me at least once to see how I was doing and that means a lot to me. Another thing that has been put into perspective for me is how blessed we are to be race car drivers. You get wrapped up sometimes and go through the motions, but when you have to sit there for four or five weeks and watch races you realize how cool it is that you get to be the one driving it. I am actually in a sense thankful for this eye opener. It has been tough at times like this week when I thought I was ready to go and they had to hold the reigns to give me another week to make sure I could be competitive and run for wins. I am looking forward to hanging out this weekend and finally being at the track. It stinks not being in the car but I am excited for Ricky to make his debut, he deserves it. I am proud of everything Roush has done while I was gone with winning races and running up front. We didn’t miss too many beats here with the Wood Brothers. Fortunately a lot of those races weren’t on the schedule. Missing the All-Star race kind of crushed me but we are back now and as ready to go as ever.”
WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH YOU THAT GOT YOU TO THE POINT YOU NEEDED TO GO TO THE MAYO CLINIC AND WHAT WAS IT LIKE WHEN PEOPLE COULDN’T EXACTLY FIGURE OUT WHAT WAS WRONG WITH YOU?
“I think I finally just had to accept that nobody knows. I can promise that if I was just tired or not feeling great I would have still been in the race car because I am a racer. I went to bed Monday night feeling great and woke up Tuesday and I was seeing two of stuff and that wasn’t cool. I went to the hospital and had the best doctors in the world at the Mayo Clinic checking me out and they don’t know. That is all it is. I have had to accept that. They treated me for things that they thought it could be, just like that bite, whether it was Lyme or not, they don’t have any evidence of that but they treated it just to knock it out and since then all my symptoms have gone away. Everything is pretty much 100% back to normal and that is pretty exciting.”
AFTER ALL OF THIS, WHAT IS IT THAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
“The symptoms were double vision; there was inflammation which was temporary obviously because all of my symptoms have gone away. The cause isn’t exactly sure yet. Their biggest hope is that it was an isolated event that is temporary and is gone now. The diagnosis, I don’t have it yet. I don’t know. It could be just a series of events where you get a bug bite and your immune system is down and we had been running for a couple months hard every day after Daytona and it wears down your immune system. That is what I am hoping for. Whether that is it or not, only time will tell with that. I still don’t have an official diagnosis but they treated everything they thought it could be and since then everything has gone away. To me, they hit something.”
STEVE NEWMARK INTERJECTS:
“The only thing I would add to that is that the doctors that he has seen which has been multiple, particularly at the Mayo Clinic, have cleared him as being fit for racing. Even though there is no official diagnosis and they can’t tell us the root cause, they have run all the tests and done everything possible they can do to him and they have declared him fit to get back on the race track.”
YOU WENT FROM THE HIGHEST OF HIGHS AT DAYTONA TO WATCHING FOR A MONTH. I KNOW YOU HAVE HIGH FAITH, BUT DID YOU EVER ASK, ‘WHY ME’?
“No, not really. I think this year is just helping me figure out what I am made of. I think if you can handle the biggest high you can have and the largest bottom you can have then the rest of the year should be easy from here. I told everybody that I didn’t buy a ticket to get on the roller coaster, I stepped back and watched it even though I was a part of it. I didn’t want to go to the very top and bottom but luckily I do have my faith and that is what defines me because if I was defined by this I would be in trouble right now. I just am thankful for the ups and downs and everything that has helped me find out what I am made of and who is there to support me. I have found a lot of supporters that I wasn’t sure of or didn’t know were there. TO see how much Roush Fenway and these guys have supported me. When I found out I wasn’t racing this weekend, there aren’t many people that would come to your house at 10:30 to talk to you about it and reassure you that you would be back in that seat. These guys did that and to me that means a lot. Carl Edwards coming out and hanging out and bringing a guitar to my hospital room and just hanging out for a few hours says a lot about him. This sport is unbelievable. I have learned that more so than ever through this whole ordeal.”
IS THERE ANY SYMPTOM THE DOCTORS HAVE WARNED YOU TO LOOK OUT FOR OR THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED MIGHT COME BACK?
“There is always a concern that you had it once and never expected it. They just said to make sure I am hydrated all the time, which I probably wasn’t doing the best job at that. Michael McDowell always says that hydration is the key to life, joking around with me, but now it really is. I just need to make sure that I am cautious and rest and stay hydrated and that is the best I can do. I gotta get back to working out. I have been on a bike for a couple hours at a time every day for the last week at the highest heart rate, 160 or 170, and nothing has shown any symptoms again. Hopefully it was an isolated scenario where a lot of things were going on and my immune system was down and you get a bite, and anything can send it into a spiral.”
HOW MANY TIMES WERE YOU AT THE MAYO CLINIC, DO YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO BE RE-EVALUATED AND ARE YOU ON MEDICATION THAT HAS TO BE CLEARED THROUGH NASCAR?
“The medications are just antibiotics so it is nothing extreme or anything. I was at the Mayo Clinic twice. They were really doing everything they could possibly do. Spinal taps at midnight is not exactly what you are looking forward to, but it happens. I went back for a checkup and they were shocked at how much I had improved. They were really taken back by it. Normally if you have something wrong with your eyes you don’t see a recovery that fast. I think they did a great job treating it with whatever it is they did. Hopefully in three of four months I will go back and see what is up again, but they are confident that I am fine now and to me that means a lot. They did the normal stuff of MRI’s and stuff to check your whole body out. They do everything. I don’t know what you even call half the stuff. I know at one point I had like 16 needles in my body at once and shock pads and stuff that I didn’t even know existed. The Mayo Clinic does a great job and I think that they definitely went over the top on testing me for everything possible.”
YOU SAID YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS, BUT IS THERE ANYTHING THAT THEY HAVE RULED OUT?
“Yeah, it is not anything terminal or anything like that. I heard somebody say cancer and leukemia and those things but that is not even a word that I heard in the hospital. That was not even an option. They have ruled out all those things. They have treated me and they thought that one thing could have been the Lyme's but they didn’t think it was anything like a serious Lyme. Other than that, there are no symptoms or anything showing on the spinal tap or blood work of it being anything else. I am hoping it was a temporary inflammation that caused that and it has been going away, as they said from day one that it should be like a four-week deal and go away. That is pretty much what happened.”
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN COMPLETELY SYMPTOM FREE AND DID YOU GUYS OR NASCAR SAY HOW LONG THAT HAD TO BE BEFORE YOU COULD GET BACK IN THE CAR?
“I have been fine for over a week now. Last weekend I took it off as a caution and this week they made me take it off as a caution. Chicago should definitely be over the top as far as being cautious on what could spark anything. They have been way over the top cautious on everything. This weekend I would have been fine to run I think but we want to just make sure. I am 20 years old and everyone keeps telling me I have a long time to run. I am trying to listen to them, even though I am 20 and stubborn and want to be in a race car every weekend. I would be riding around with an eye patch if they would let me. It is all good. I think we have waited long enough.”
YOU SAID HOW BLESSED AND HOW THIS PUT BEING A RACE CAR DRIVER INTO PERSPECTIVE. YET WE HEAR A STORY THIS WEEK OF A RACE CAR DRIVER GOING 128 MPH IN A 45. DO YOU HAVE ANY REACTION TO THAT?
“No, not really. We all need to be responsible and I think we are all young or whatever and I am 20 so hopefully I learn from everybody else and don’t do anything like that. I am blessed and happy to be a race car driver. I think we get to drive fast enough on the race track and that is why I drive a truck, so I am not tempted. Even though it is a Ford Raptor and probably could do that, I try not to push it to that level.”
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN WHILE YOU WERE HOSPITALIZED?
“My biggest concern was how fast I could get back. I was asking the doctors every day how long it would take. For some reason God put peace in my heart. You would think that the first day when I woke up my roommate and asked if I was cross-eyed or something that I would be freaking out. But I was just like, ‘Well, let’s go to the doctor boys.’ So we loaded up and went to the doctor and I had a peace about it. I think a lot of that too is the support and reassurance I have gotten from everybody. I can’t tell you how many times these guys have both said that this is my car when I am ready and not to rush it because we will go racing again and be competitive. That helped me a lot and took away a lot of the concern. Watching races on TV is not as fun as being in the driver’s seat. The first one I had to watch was the Denny Hamlin Foundation race and that was tough and then the Nationwide race and everything. It makes it tougher when your team is running as good as these guys have too to know that you could have had a shot at winning these races. The good thing is I get to look forward to that in Chicago.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RICKY GETTING INTO THE CAR AND WHAT HE IS GOING THROUGH?
“Ricky is awesome and he has been sensitive to the fact where he is like, ‘Man, I hate the circumstances. I have always wanted to run my first Cup race but I hate that I have to do it because you are out of the car.’ He is an awesome kid and I am pumped for him. I texted him yesterday and told him to own this thing because he deserves it. I think he is going to do a great job. You see him in the Nationwide series this year and making huge gains and being really competitive every weekend with practice, qualifying and racing. I think he will do a great job in the Cup car. The biggest thing is 600 laps. I talked to him a little about that and Carl and Matt and Greg did as well I am sure. I told him to just enjoy it. It is his first Cup start. When I was at Texas I got so overwhelmed by everything that I forgot to take everything in. Three weeks later I was like, ‘Man, I ran a Cup race.’ I told him to just enjoy it a little bit and not stress out too much about it.”
CAN YOU COMMENT ON THE TWO TRACKS YOU WILL BE COMING BACK AT, CHICAGO AND MICHIGAN?
“I am pumped about that. I have raced at Chicago twice so far, once in a WR car and once in a Roush Car and have a little experience there but not a ton. I am excited about that but I am really excited about Michigan and getting back in both series and riding in Ford’s back door and that could be a good weekend for us. We were really fast there last year in the Diamond Waltrip car and the Roush cars were really strong as well. I am looking forward to the experience I got last year carrying over to this year and it being a good experience for us.”
THERE WAS A REPORT YOU WERE FATIGUED AFTER ONE OF YOUR TESTS. HAVE THOSE BEEN GOOD?
“Yeah, I mean last week at VIR I was great and at Rockingham I felt great. We were just being cautious. Obviously if you sit in a hospital bed and at home or in any bed for a month you aren’t going to feel great and ready to go right away. I was a little tired after Rockingham but that has gone away and I have been able to get back to working out and do my normal kind of stuff and get back to that. VIR went awesome; we were really fast there with the Nationwide car. At Rockingham we had two cars on the track. Ricky went and we battled and passed each other and did racing scenarios and I am 100% comfortable that when I get back in the car it will be just like before.”
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