Taking the NASCAR world by storm, Trevor Bayne will be forever known as the 20 year old rookie sensation that won the 2011 Daytona 500 – becoming the famed races’ youngest winner ever. Now he will be known as the only active driver in NASCAR driving with multiple sclerosis (MS).
The 22 year old Bayne from Tennessee announced today that he has MS (source: AP). However, Bayne does not think it will alter his racing career. He does not have any indicators of the disease and said,
“There are currently no symptoms and I’m committed to continuing to take the best care of my body as possible. As for now, I want to close out the season strong this weekend at Homestead and then shift my focus on getting ready to compete for the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Championship in 2014.”
From highs to lows
Bayne’s career appeared to skyrocket out of nowhere when he won Daytona for the Woods Brothers and was considered the next young superstar of the sport. Yet, a couple months after the Tennessean’s incredible achievement, Trevor was hospitalized with a mysterious illness that was blamed on a spider bite on his left elbow. Soon afterwards, he was again hospitalized for lingering symptoms and after further tests including at the Mayo Clinic, it was thought he might have acquired Lyme disease caused by a tick bite.
Bayne’s symptoms were blurred vision, exhaustion, nausea and numbness in his arm. A couple months later, he was back in a car and raced the rest of the year. Although not officially diagnosed as Lyme disease but rather an inflammatory condition, generally speaking, Bayne says that was the cause of his illness.
The new diagnosis of MS was confirmed after extensive testing at the Mayo Clinic. Bayne has been cleared to race by doctors and NASCAR.
With no known cure, multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease that attacks nerve cells and the spinal cord, destroying the immune system over time while likely causing neurological problems. MS can be inherited or possibly created by infections. Treatment can’t cure the disease but it can reduce its affect and prolong life. Many people with MS continue living relatively normal lives although the illness is expected to reduce a normal life span. Bayne was married earlier this year to his longtime sweetheart Ashton Clapp – both are from Knoxville.
Roush Fenway Racing is fully behind Bayne and has no plans to replace him in the #6 Nationwide Ford he is currently campaigning. Trevor also drives the part-time #21 Cup ride of the famed Woods Brothers and that relationship appears will continue as well.
Additional source: Trevor Bayne