Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne was hoping for a repeat trip to Victory Lane at Daytona. Instead, he got an early exit.
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Bayne wrecked on the fifth lap of Saturday’s race and finished 40th, ending his return to Sprint Cup competition way sooner than he hoped.
"It’s not fun, I can promise you," Bayne said. "It takes about a half second and you say, ‘Oh, here it goes,’ because you get sideways and you know the point of correction. … I just hate that it was us. It’s gonna happen again tonight, I’m sure, but it’s just really unfortunate for us. I wanted to back up what we did here in February, obviously, but we aren’t gonna get the chance to do that."
Bayne was running in tandem with Brad Keselowski, but Keselowski turned Bayne around when he seemingly started pushing too close to the left rear.
"I don’t know if I turned down more getting in (turn one) or if he kind of came up across our bumper," Bayne said. "Either way, our bumpers caught wrong and it sent us spinning."
Bayne’s season has been a whirlwind.
He became the youngest Daytona 500 winner in February, but he failed to capitalize on his surprise victory. He soon found himself in the Mayo Clinic being treated for what he now believes was Lyme disease. After taking several weeks off, Bayne returned for the Nationwide race at Chicagoland but felt run down. He was hoping to find more normalcy at Daytona, but ended up with a short stint behind the wheel.
"I can’t explain what I’ve been through this year," Bayne said. "It’s tough at times and it’s good at times, but I just know that I’ve got really good people behind me. … So that gives me confidence. If I didn’t have that and I didn’t have my faith and everything else, right now that would be a pretty bad blow, I can promise you that."