Trevor Bayne, who in 2011 became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history, said Tuesday that he has multiple sclerosis, but he does not expect it to impact his racing career. He will be racing come Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series finales. Bayne’s younger sister, Sarah, also has multiple sclerosis.
The 22-year-old Bayne was sidelined for five races in 2011 for an illness that led to hospitalization at the Mayo Clinic. Doctors ultimately called it an “inflammatory condition,” and it was never made clear whether it was related to an insect bite he’d suffered weeks earlier.
He underwent a spinal tap during his hospitalization, and doctors ruled out Lyme disease at the time. Bayne was initially admitted to the Mayo Clinic in 2011 for nausea, fatigue and double vision. He’d been treated weeks earlier following a race at Texas after experiencing numbness in his arm while driving, and he thought the condition was related to the insect bite.
MS is a potentially disabling disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms can be mild, such as fatigue, or severe, including paralysis or loss of vision. There is no cure, but treatment can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Bayne was 20 when he won the Daytona 500 in 2011 driving for Wood Brothers Racing. It was his first Daytona 500 and briefly propelled him to national fame as the fresh new face of NASCAR.
But he was only driving a partial Cup schedule that year, and he was out of his Nationwide car eight races later when he became ill.
Bayne said he is still scheduled to drive for Roush-Fenway Racing full-time next season in the Nationwide Series and a partial Cup schedule for Wood Brothers. He goes into this weekend with one Nationwide Series win this year — at Iowa — and is ranked sixth in the points standings.