NASCAR's Trevor Bayne Explains Choice to Race After Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2013

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 09:  Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 WFG Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series ServiceMaster 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2013 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Trevor Bayne has dealt with a number of health issues since shocking the racing world by winning the Daytona 500 in his second career start during the 2011 season. While medical specialists had been unable to nail down the reason behind them with 100 percent certainty for the last two years, the 22-year-old phenom finally has an answer. 

According to Nate Ryan of USA Today, Bayne has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but fully intends to continue racing. After thorough testing, he has been cleared by both doctors and NASCAR to compete. Via team release:

"I've never been more driven to compete," said Bayne. "My goals are the same as they've been since I started racing. I want to compete at the highest level and I want to win races and championships. I am in the best shape I've ever been in, and I feel good. There are currently no symptoms, and I'm committed to continuing to take the best care of my body as possible."

Bayne has struggled to get back to the pinnacle of motorsports since his surprising triumph at Daytona, and there is no doubt that his health has held him back. According to Ryan, Bayne missed two months of action after dealing with numbness, blurred vision, nausea and fatigue. He was originally diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Nov 3, 2013; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Trevor Bayne (21) is introduced before the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Although Bayne has only made 11 starts in the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford for the Wood Brothers racing team at the Sprint Cup Level this season, he has been a regular in the Nationwide Series for Roush Fenway's racing team. Bayne is currently sixth in the Nationwide standings with 20 top-10 finishes, including a victory in Iowa, and six total top-five finishes.

Per Ryan, Bayne plans to once again run a full Nationwide schedule in 2014 for Roush Fenway Racing, and owner Jack Roush is behind his young driver.

"We are 100 percent supportive of Trevor and his ability to compete in a race car," Roush said in the release. "I have full confidence in Trevor and his partners have all expressed that same confidence and support. As with all of our drivers, we look forward to standing behind Trevor and providing him with all of the tools he needs as he continues to develop in his young career."

As one of the top young stars in the sport, Bayne has a long and successful career ahead of him assuming he is able to deal with the effects of MS.

Multiple sclerosis could potentially lead to significant issues within the central nervous system, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and there is no cure. With that said, the disease can be managed, so Bayne has an opportunity to continue racing and lead a fairly normal life provided the symptoms are kept in a controlled state.

This diagnosis isn't great news by any means, but Bayne is determined to continue chasing his dream, and he appears to have the attitude necessary to overcome MS.

Bayne would be the second driver to compete on a NASCAR circuit with MS. Kelly Sutton was diagnosed as a teenager and competed in the Camping World Truck Series from 2003-07.

 

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