DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Even with the whirlwind of events that have surrounded Trevor Bayne since taking the legendary Wood Brothers back to Gatorade Victory Lane in Sunday's 53rd annual Daytona 500, it still did not seem real to him as he met with media and fans during the Champion’s Breakfast car induction at Daytona International Speedway Monday morning.
“It’s kind of cool because it keeps hitting me over and over again. It’s like you get to win a bunch of times,” said Bayne, who at 20 years and one day is the youngest driver to win “The Great American Race.” “You look down for a second to look at your phone or grab a bite to eat and see (the crew) sitting here again and it’s like, ‘Whoa, we’re in here because we won the 500,’ and it’s … I can’t describe it.
“We got out of the motorhome this morning and saw that the (scoring pylon) still had our number at the top of it and that’s insane. I don’t know how I’m the one that got to be this lucky, to be in this situation and be here with all these guys, but I’m really fortunate.”
After winning the richest and most prestigious race on the NASCAR circuit, Bayne celebrated with friends by playing basketball and riding skateboards in the infield. The celebration continued early this morning as they brought the No. 21 Ford, covered in confetti, to the “World Center of Racing’s” indoor Gatorade Victory Lane where the car will be on display until it is returned to the team next February.
Joining Bayne were team owners Eddie and Len Wood, and crew chief Donnie Wingo. Original co-owner –Eddie and Len’s dad – Glen Wood, also attended the event.
“That’s one of the most special parts of it,” Eddie said of having the family in victory lane after the win. “With what our dad and Leonard (Wood, uncle) accomplished in the 70s, 80s, and the 60s, too – we felt like we had dropped the ball. To get back to (victory lane) and have them back in victory lane – and Richard Petty bringing dad in – it feels good to get the family name back going.”
Even before the Champion’s Breakfast, Bayne’s day was in full swing. He entered the room giving a phone interview, autographing hats and being followed by a television camera. After the event he will start a media tour that will take him to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., then on to Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and finally Phoenix for this week’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.
“Every time I get done with one thing they hand me another phone and I’m talking,” Bayne said. “I like to talk a lot, but after this week you might not hear anything except crickets.”
Though he’s young and has only two starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Bayne understands the gravity of the win.
“The first realization I got is when I was talking to (the Wood Brothers),” said Bayne. “They said it was as cool as (David) Pearson’s win and that’s when it sinks in because I don’t put myself on that kind of stage with those guys. I don’t think of myself as doing the same thing that David Pearson did or AJ Foyt or Tiny Lund or (Cale Yarborough). When they made that comment, that this was one of their coolest 500 wins, that’s when I thought, ‘Wow, this is real. This is something that a lot of people strive for their whole career. This is one of the biggest races in motorsports and we were the ones in victory lane.”
During the celebration, Bayne also joined Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III to unveil the logo for the 2012 Daytona 500, scheduled for February 26, 2012.
Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
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