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<< Sports >>

Auto Racing / NASCAR

Friday, 11 March, 2011 2:47 PM

Hundreds show up to submit questions for NASCAR Driver Trevor Bayne in Dearborn

Youngest winner of the Daytona 500 makes a special appearance at the Henry Ford Museum

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A close-up of Daytona 500 Winner Trevor Bayne as he responds to questions from his fans in Dearborn, Mich.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

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DEARBORN, Mich. -- It's been a crazy month for Trevor Bayne. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver won the Daytona 500 as the youngest driver ever at the age of 20 years and one day. It was the first race of the season with the Wood Brothers Racing team. Ever since, has been making special appearances all over the country to meet his fans. On Wednesday afternoon, he made a stop at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Hundreds of people waited in line for as long as four hours to ask him a question at the free fan event.

"We got here at 11 o'clock this morning," said Charlene Skonieczry of Farmington, Mich. "I like Trevor because he's the youngest driver to win this Daytona 500. He's doing outstanding work. Ford's got really good motors. He's doing great and we wish him all the best of luck. Keep going the direction that he's going and he'll win a lot more races. We go to June and August at MIS. I haven't been to any other race tracks, but I would like to try them though."

Bayne was joined by Len and Eddie of the Wood Brothers, Ford Racing's Jamie Allison and Michigan International Speedway (MIS) President Roger Curtis. MIS hosted the event inside the Anderson Theater at the museum. Doors opened at 3 p.m. and the event began shortly after 3:30 p.m. Attendees were asked to fill out questions and place them in a box before walking in the theater.

"It's just a learning curve, you see that with every new driver that comes in," the young driver said. "I've got a Nationwide car program and a Cup car program. They know exactly what it's going to take for both. For me, I just try them. I hope this works, but I'm trying to figure out what the differences are. For me, it's a little bit of a transition going back and forth. Bristol, that's my home track. It's the fans, the way it's compact. I've been going there since I was five years old. There's so many factors that can take you out. It's definitely fun to race at besides MIS."

Fans came from all over Michigan, Ohio, Ontario (Canada) and one even made the trek all the way from Tennessee.

"I got here at 12 o'clock," said Eddie Wrinicle of Chattanooga, Tenn. "I like him because he drives a Ford for Wood Brothers Racing. I go to the June and August races at MIS and Bristol. My favorite tracks are Bristol No. 1, Talladega No. 2 and MIS No. 3."

The final two laps of the Daytona 500 were shown on the big screen along with Bayne's celebration in victory lane thereafter. In addition, photos of Bayne, The Wood Brothers and MIS also appeared on the screen.

"I like the Wood Brothers--I follow the Wood Brothers," said Sid Stone of Ypsilanti, Mich. "I've followed Ford Racing for quite a few years. I wanted to come on down and say hi. No questions at all, I'm just going to come listen. I go out to a couple races at MIS. I've been to Bristol, Indianapolis, Talladega. MIS is the best in the world."

Curtis said The Wood Brothers have the same number of wins at MIS as Jack Roush (11). Len and Eddie hope to break the tie later this season during races in June and August at the 2-mile oval in Brooklyn, Mich.

"Yeah, either us or Roush as long as one of us wins it," said Len Wood. "It gets back to what Jamie talked about One Ford. It's really bigger than what he's talking about. That win was so many people involved in it--other than our immediate race team. From Ford Racing to Roush Fenway to everything. A lot of people make that happen. Trevor, he finished it off."

Bayne was born on Feb. 19, 1991 in Knoxville, Tenn. He started with go-kart racing at the age of five. Bayne recorded over 300 feature wins and 18 total State and Track Championships. In 2004, he moved to the Allison Legacy Racing Series. Over the course of two years, he won 14 races and had 30 to-five finished in only 41 starts. At the age of 15, Bayne moved to the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Southern Division. By 2008, he was racing in the NASCAR Camping World East Series. The next year, he raced in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway.

"I'm a fan of Michael Waltrip Racing, so I've been following him since he ran in Nationwide," said Michael Wismer of London, Ont. "I was there in person to watch him win. It was great to see. I met him years ago when he first started out. It will be nice to see him again. I go to about five or six races per year all over the country. MIS is definitely one of the higher-speed tracks. It's got a knack for coming down to interesting finishes. Last couple of years we've seen really interesting finishes where the leader at the last couple of laps doesn't end up winning the race."

In 2008, Bayne signed a contract with Michael Waltrip Racing to have a limited race schedule in the Nationwide Series. Two years later, he moved to Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne finished seventh in final point standings that year. In 2010, he began racing in the Sprint Cup Series with the Wood Brothers Racing team. In 2011, he drives the No. 21 car in the Sprint Cup Series and the No. 16 car in the Nationwide Series.

"It's been hard to keep our expectations realistic now, you know," the young driver said. "We're there to try to win all of them. We understand that this is a tough series. It doesn't always play out like Daytona. It was an incredible thing to be a part of. It's just a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You're right, where do we go from here? I guess we can go out there and try to get better every week. Maybe when the year is over, a championship and try to do it all over again."

Bayne's victory in the Daytona 500 was the Wood Brothers' first win since the 2001 season. Some are already calling him NASCAR's next big star. Will he become the next Dale Earnhardt? Who knows...

"I've been to my house one day since the Daytona 500," he laughed. "As a 20-year-old, I like to wake up whenever, go work at the shop and do my daily deal. Now, it's like 7 o'clock be here and 8 o'clock be here. That's been a lot of different. As far as the race goes, Daytona and Talladega are two totally different beasts of their own. When you come to Michigan later in the year, they're all totally different tracks. I always see my team work really hard and they give me a really good race car. I get to be the guy behind the wheel."

Related Story: Daytona 500 Winner Trevor Bayne to speak at The Henry Ford on March 9

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A long line of auto racing fans inside the Henry Ford Museum.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Charlene Skonieczry from Farmington, Mich. holds up her autographed photo of Trevor Bayne.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Dan McKinnon of London, Ont. brought this photo to get it autographed.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Bayne, Len Wood, Eddie Wood and Jamie Allison.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The young NASCAR driver responds to a question from Roger Curtis (pictured left).

 

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