Thursday, November 23, 2017
Sports

Trevor Bayne marks 5-year anniversary of Daytona 500 win

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DAYTONA BEACH — Trevor Bayne admits that it's difficult not to think about the highlight of his career — his unlikely Daytona 500 victory five years ago.

"When I come here, it's hard not to," Bayne said Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway.

But repeating that success has been even harder.

Since becoming the youngest winner in race history, Bayne has been shut out of victory lane. The 24-year-old has only four top-10 finishes in his last 92 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

"It's tough," Bayne said. "Obviously I wouldn't change that for the world — I loved having that opportunity to start with a bang. We want to continue that, obviously get back on the right train and keep moving."

Bayne is optimistic that his fortunes could turn in 2016, beginning with Sunday's Great American Race. He's coming off of his first full-time Cup season that included a ninth-place finish at the Coke Zero 400. He understands the rigors of the season and the importance of teamwork at Roush Fenway Racing. His sponsorship is in place.

All that remains is for Bayne and his No. 6 Ford to put the whole package together and become a consistent competitor.

"Every week I kind approach it saying, we can do this," Bayne said. "We've done it before, but we need to do it again."

LOGANO SPEECHLESS: Joey Logano still can't articulate his feelings in moments like Tuesday morning, when he was introduced at media day as the reigning 500 champion.

"Even a year later, I still can't put it in words," Logano said. "I was just screaming on the radio. It's still the way I'd explain it now."

While some professional athletes might try to recreate his pre-race run this week to try to equal last year's result, Logano said he's not that superstitious.

"It doesn't work," Logano said, "and it's kind of disgusting if you start wearing the same underwear and stuff like that."

INDY DOUBLE: This May's 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 will bring some extra buzz, but don't expect Danica Patrick to return. Patrick, who raced in IndyCar from 2005-11, said the historic mark is "thought-provoking," but NASCAR commands her full attention.

"I have things I want to accomplish over here ..." said Patrick, who finished third there in 2009. "I'm okay with not doing it, is what I'm saying."

Another NASCAR veteran with open-wheel roots, Kasey Kahne, said he looked into racing in the historic event but no deal came together. "It's definitely on my radar," Kahne said of potentially racing the event in the future.

Kurt Busch, who raced the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 in 2014, didn't rule out returning for this year but said he'd focus on that in a few weeks.

ALMIROLA'S EXPERIENCE: Tampa native Aric Almirola said his No. 43 Ford simply lacked speed most of last year, forcing him to savor solid, top-15 runs from near-perfect weekends. The Hillsborough High alumnus narrowly missed out on making the Chase last season for the second year in a row and said the attention to detail he honed last year could pay off in 2016.

"If we execute like we did last year and have those perfect weekends, we won't take ourselves out of chances to win races," Almirola said.

NUTS AND BOLTS: Actor Gerald Butler was announced as the grand marshal. ... Two-time 500 champion Michael Waltrip's pick for NASCAR's next big star: 19-year-old Truck Series champion Erik Jones. "He is so good and so fast and has been since the day he showed up," Waltrip said.

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