NASCAR Media Conference
November 12, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, good morning, everyone, and welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference. Our guests are Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang, and Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing.
Trevor, it was announced today that you've been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and have been cleared by doctors at the Mayo Clinic and NASCAR to continue to compete in NASCAR. Can you talk about the announcement and your mindset moving forward with the goals of winning races and championships?
TREVOR BAYNE: Yeah, for sure. First of all, I appreciate everyone's concern and their willingness to call and to want to find out more and all their support. But the art of today to make this announcement comes because we didn't want to keep everybody in the dark about things once we got information and got a diagnosis. I wanted to let everybody know what's going on.
More than anything, I appreciate the support of my team and our sponsors here. They've been unbelievable. Obviously, at first, when I found out, I didn't know how it would be taken, and the more I talked to them, the more support I got. Obviously, I feel great. I've had no symptoms and everything's going really well. But the biggest thing we want to figure out is how to keep winning races and championships and keep this thing going.
THE MODERATOR: Steve, can you talk about the organization's support and confidence in Trevor as he competes full‑time for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship next season?
STEVE NEWMARK: Absolutely. I think that the diagnosis is a refreshing one for Trevor to understand the situation. But it absolutely has no impact on the support and the way that we view Trevor going forward. I mean, he is one of our premier race car drivers and we fully expect him to be competing for wins and championships well into the future.
We have a lot of respect and admiration for the fact that he wanted to come out and make this known publicly. It was not something that he had any obligation to do, and quite frankly I don't think most 22‑year‑olds would have the maturity that he does to be able to deal with this. So we're completely supportive of all of his efforts, and quite frankly, we'll turn very quickly to try to figure out how to get our cars faster and put him in a position to win a championship next year.
Q. I was reading some of the questions earlier from the in‑person interviews, and I think you had told Tom Jensen that you have not had any MS symptoms. So my question, I was just a little curious, the process that you went through at the Mayo Clinic? If you've not had any symptoms, how do they go about coming‑‑ where did the diagnosis come from? Was it testing or‑‑ obviously, you didn't go there with the idea that you were going to have MS?
TREVOR BAYNE: Right. We were unsure of the diagnosis, and that's why I continued to go back regularly more than annually to go to the Mayo Clinic and get tests done and try to figure out an answer. In the beginning they were unsure, and they're not going to give it a diagnosis until they are sure. That's what I appreciate about the doctors there.
They're so smart. They've obviously done years of medical school, so they have way more understanding than I ever would from reading something online.
From all the testing we've done there through their knowledge and experience they were able to diagnose me. And like you heard earlier, I have no symptoms. It was really on our doing of continuing to pursue a diagnosis and continuing to find out answers.
As a race car driver, you want to have all the data you can, all the information, and know how to best take care of yourself. Pretty much what they recommended is for me to do what a normal, healthy person should do, which is to work out hard, to eat the right things. Last year in December, December 1st, I competed in my first triathlon. I wanted to see what the limitations of my body are as a normal person, and I pushed and pushed and pushed and never found any limitations. We went and did the triathlon, and there were 440 people there, we finished 38th. I say "we", because I'm used to racing. But I can say I on this one, I guess, because I was the only one pedaling the bike.
I finished 38th out of 440 people and second in my age group, and I feel like my body is as healthy as ever as far as physically, and I've been able to go hard. Obviously, that pushed me way harder than driving a race car does. But my duty as a race car driver is to keep myself in the best physical shape as possible, and that's what they recommended.
Q. Trevor, as you said, no symptoms, so you're not taking any medications. I know you talked about diet, but what do you have to do moving forward? What happens going forward? How is this monitored? What do you have to be aware of? How often do you have to visit the doctor, six months? Every year? How do things go moving forward to make sure that symptoms don't come up or to kind of keep things in check. Can you explain that please?
TREVOR BAYNE: Just keep treating it the way I have before. I want to have all the information possible, so I continue to be checked out at the Mayo Clinic and appreciate their doctor support and their knowledge. They've obviously cleared me to race, and so has NASCAR, so I just continue to trust them to give me the best information as possible, and that's what we'll continue to do.
In those symptoms, it's definitely a good thing, and we'll continue going strong and I'll continue to go back there to get their advice and information.
Q. I'm not sure I asked this properly, so for forgive me I don't want to make light of it. Obviously, this can be a serious situation, but is this in one sense not a serious situation? I mean that because you don't have the symptoms, you don't have any of those issues? It's more of a monitoring? How is this weighing on you? How significant is this because you don't feel anything that would have led you to believe that there is something seriously wrong in that sense?
TREVOR BAYNE: Well, that's a good question and obviously that's what we're hopeful for is that we never know it's there symptomatically, and I'll continue to do everything I can not to have that. You might ask why come out now and talk about it if there are no symptoms or anything like that. And Mark mentioned in the previous one that you guys obviously couldn't hear, the in‑person interview, and I talked about this. We didn't ask to make this announcement or anything like that. I was under no obligation once I was cleared by NASCAR or the doctors to do that. But my part in announcing this is the fact that we have a huge community of fans and followers around our series and with our platform, they can't relate too much to somebody who is winning races and winning championships and everything looks like it's going great. I'm 22 years old. Fortunately, we've had a team around us that won a Daytona 500, I just got married. But we always talk about all these great things, and they don't get to see the struggles that we go through. So for me, that is really the biggest reason I wanted to bring this out.
We want to show people, man, we go through tough times too. But as a follower of Christ and believer, it's part of my testimony and something I don't want to hide because obviously people can relate to that. They see I'm going through struggles and God is helping me through it, and that is the biggest thing of this that I focus on. And the fact that I feel like people, why not give them an answer? We have nothing to hide. There are no symptoms.
Our team has been unbelievably supportive of me. Roush Fenway, the Wood Brothers, AdvoCare, Motorcraft, and Quick Lane Ford, everybody involved and we've talked to in this has given me so much support that it's been unbelievable. So I figure if they take it that well, then why hide it from anybody and feel like there is a part of my life that I can't talk about or have to keep in the dark? Because I'm a pretty open book and never want to feel like I have something like that behind the curtain.
Q. I'm in the board room at Roush Fenway Racing and covering this for Sirius XM NASCAR which is carrying this live. And the deep emotion that you showed here was not when asked about fear or the disease, but when you described the testament that this opportunity awards you for those who are going through tough times and it was quite moving. Can you talk about that?
TREVOR BAYNE: Yeah, Claire, I appreciate that and thank you for coming out here. But to me this is something that is a big deal to a lot of people. Hopefully, they can see how we handle this and show that our faith is not something that we take lightly or something that we just handle in the good times. We go through a lot of tough things as race car drivers and as people. And it's something that I want people to see that part of my life. The struggles I go through, and how we handle not only with our own strength, but what God empowers us to do through him.
Man, it's something that there are definitely difficult times, great times. There are struggles and a lot of success. But you have to see the whole picture of what we go through and what I'm going through and my family's going through. I just want people to understand that and be inspired in that and understand that they can overcome things. There are a lot of things out there that we can do.
Q. Is that something you struggled with initially or something you knew right away this will afford me the opportunity if I speak out to maybe help other people?
TREVOR BAYNE: Selfishly we always say, man, I want to keep things hidden. Why would I share that? Why would I want people to think there is something wrong? Here are all these doubts and fears. And that was overcome pretty quickly, and I felt led to share this because it's my calling and my platform. I want to take full advantage of that and be a good steward of it.
I don't ever want to get to the end of the days and say I didn't use everything I was given. I feel like this was something I was given that some people can run from or hide or be scared of. But I feel like we should take it head on and not fear it, and just go at it, like I said, head on.
Q. My youngest daughter has MS. She's in her early 30s and one day she's perfectly normal and everything and the next day she wakes up and there's all sorts of problems. Has there been any thought of having a regular back‑up driver or whatever or are you going to wait until you start having symptoms?
TREVOR BAYNE: There is definitely nothing like that. For me, I've been completely symptom‑free and there are many different cases of MS that are handled completely different. It's probably one of the most inconsistent, between people, that you can see. Every case is totally different. So for me I'm fortunate that mine has not presented symptoms in that I'm able to keep on going, so that's what we're hopeful for and that's what we continue to do.
Obviously, we want to make the best of next season and be able to run all the races and run them well, win races and win the championship. And that is our complete focus with no doubt or wavering on that.
Q. Good luck to you.
TREVOR BAYNE: Thank you, sir, and I'm sorry to hear about your daughter.
Q. What correlation, if any, did your doctors at may owe give you between this diagnosis and what you experienced back when you had to get out of the car?
TREVOR BAYNE: Well, that's obviously when I started going for evaluation and trying to get a diagnosis, that's what has led to this diagnosis. So at the time nobody knew what was going on or anything like that, and I've continued to go back to the Mayo and be evaluated and tested and that's what's led to this diagnosis, which I got in mid-summer or late summer. Right after we went to the Mayo Clinic, before we got our diagnosis. But right after we went, I went to Iowa and we won the race and got married right before that.
As far as the driving stuff, I feel like everything's been good to go. But to answer your question, that's what led to our diagnosis.
Q. But they didn't consider that MS symptoms, per se?
TREVOR BAYNE: You know, I'm not completely sure, but it is when we started all of our testing to figure it out. At the time they were unsure exactly what was going on, and now they've figured out what I have. Whether that's directly correlated to it or not, I'm still unsure of that and that's why we continuing to to the Mayo clinic to get checked out.
Q. Having been a newlywed and you and Ashton, I guess you guys were high school sweethearts.
TREVOR BAYNE: I wish we were.
TREVOR BAYNE: I wish we were high school sweethearts. I had to chase her longer than that though.
Q. How did she take the news when she found out? How did she handle things, the fact that you guys were just basically newlyweds?
TREVOR BAYNE: Well, she's sitting in the room with me now, and she's been completely supportive and awesome. She's been by my side all the way through this. That is what is so great about being married to somebody who is the same as you are in their faith and through everything. Man, she's been unbelievable. Sometimes she's as competitive, if not more, than I am about racing stuff, and she's the same about this. We want to go after it, and obviously, trust in the Lord and his plan for me.
But I couldn't ask for a better wife through this kind of thing. She's never wavered or doubted or anything like that. She's been completely supportive of whether I announced this or whether I don't. Whatever decisions I've made, she's completely stood by me and given me good perspective, and that's been awesome.
Q. Your parents, how are they handling all of this? Your sister also has MS. Was it difficult on them to come to the realization that two of their children were fighting the disease?
TREVOR BAYNE: I'm sure as a parent you want the best for your children in anything they go through. Whether they fall down on the playground and scrape their knee, you want them to be better. So I'm sure my parents, you know, it's probably a little bit difficult for them. With the MS not being a hereditary thing or family‑based thing, it's odd. But for them, I'm sure they're handling it well.
They've been supportive of me, texting me this morning, saying how much they love me and are proud of me and support me. Saying, hey, at least this is behind you now as far as announcing it.
Like I said, just like Ashton, everybody's been super supportive, and my parents are included in that. Obviously, people have been bombarding them. They had to tell them to call Roush and talk to me about it so they don't have to worry about it because I don't want that for them. But I do appreciate how much everybody cares about it.
Q. Talk a little bit about hurdles of your racing career? It's your entire life, your go‑karts, late models, all through the ranks in stock cars. How do you think that racing career is helping you handle this hurdle as well?
TREVOR BAYNE: Well, man, I've got the means to go to one of the best hospitals in the country with Mayo Clinic. I've got a team around me that supports me completely, and I have a platform to share it and encourage other people. So through this, it's been great to have that kind of support. Also I'm in a sport that's performance‑based so it's giving me the mindset of wanting to know everything I can about it and to go after it.
Racing has kind of molded my life a lot. We're very competitive people, and that gives me more of a fire to be better through this. I don't really know what I'd be doing without racing because it's all I've ever done since I was 5 years old, so it's kind of engrained into me.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Trevor and Steve, thank you both so much for joining us today. We wish you all the best of luck this weekend at Homestead and moving forward in your career.
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