Typically, you'll find interviews here with Sprint Cup Series drivers who are outside the top 12 in points. But when Trevor Bayne announced he would be sponsored for a full season thanks to OUT! Pet Care products, his representatives wondered if fans would be interested in getting to know the Diamond-Waltrip Racing driver a little better. We figured, why not? So here's a special edition of our 12 questions, tweaked for the Nationwide Series.
What's the best race you've ever driven in any series?
TB: I'd say that was probably the (2007) Myrtle Beach race in the Hooters Pro Cup Series. We won it, but the cool part was we started fourth on a green-white-checkered. We went three-wide and got to second in the first corner, and then we ended up taking the lead on the frontstretch, taking the white flag and we ended up winning it. So that was pretty cool for me.
Who do you perceive to be the most talented driver in NASCAR?
TB: It's hard to say Jimmie Johnson because he doesn't race anything else. But I'm going to say him, just because of his persona that he stays focused, and I think that's admirable that he stays in that Cup car all the time, you know? It'd be easy for somebody that good to just want to jump around and go dominate everything. But that guy's driven toward one goal, he stays after it and he's just good. He knows how to win races and championships.
What would you consider to be your big break in the sport?
TB: That would be at Bristol in '06. I was running in the Hooters Pro Cup Series, and I was in a Ford at the time. I was over talking to (Truck Series team owner) Billy Ballew and one other guy, I didn't know who it was. I went out and was leading the race and with 15 to go, and we get wrecked. I came in and didn't throw my stuff, I didn't cause a big scene, I just walked in and just put my stuff down. And that other guy who was over there with Billy Ballew comes up and was like, "You didn't know who I was earlier, but my name is Pat Suhy of (General Motors), and I oversee all the motorsports stuff. I'd really like to get you in Chevrolets next year." He ended up talking to all three Cup teams and got me into Dale Earnhardt Inc. and got me that (East Series) ride, so that was awesome.
What year will you win your first Cup race?
TB: 2011 or 2012, hopefully! As soon as they put me in one, I'd like to win my first year. I'd hope for 2012, that's my goal. Everybody wants to win right away, honestly, but I think our first full season which is 2012, I'd like to think we could come out with one – whether it's lucky or whether we were good (laughs). I'd like to think that opportunity could arise. But first I've got to win a Nationwide race.
What's something you want people to know about you?
TB: I've always tried to stay humble through everything. My faith and being a Christian has helped me through that. (Racing) is what we do, and it becomes a lifestyle – but it's not who we are. And you know, I try to be more well-rounded than just being the race car driver; I try to be a kid and go wake-boarding and all that stuff to be as well-rounded as I can. And that keeps you humble.
Do you have any routines or superstitions?
TB: I don't have a specific one. I mean, I probably am a little superstitious about things – if I find a lucky penny, I feel like I might win the race. It's not like I have one thing – I'm not Brendan Gaughan who wears his college basketball shirt every week.
First big purchase you've made or planned to make?
TB: Man...I really haven't bought anything yet. I bought one of Michael McDowell's go-karts the other week, a road-course go-kart. But first big purchase in the thousands, I'd like to think would be a boat someday. I like to go wake-boarding and stuff, but most of my friends have boats so there's no reason for me to own one (laughs).
What's the first thing you do when you walk in the door after a long race weekend?
TB: Throw my suitcase down! I've been bouncing around so much though. I like to get back to Tennessee as much as I can. Here lately, I've been getting home on Saturday night, changing my clothes out of my suitcase and going to Tennessee on Sunday to go to church and hang out with my friends and family. But normally we get back at night, so I usually want to just sleep. That's what you want to do all day after a race: Sleep.
When you think about making it to Cup racing, what's something you really look forward to or dream about?
TB: Man, that's tough. I think just accomplishing what you've always wanted to do. Ever since I was five years old, this is what I wanted to do, and to think I will have accomplished that one day is going to be awesome. The thing about this racing is that you're never going to be the man forever. Like Mark Martin, he still feels like he's got something he can accomplish every single year, even after he's been at it this long. So I don't ever think you can plateau in this sport and think you're not going to get any better.
What driver do you most want to race against who you haven't raced against yet?
TB: I gotta say Jeff Gordon. I mean, I've raced against most of the other guys, those guys have all been in the Nationwide Series at some point, Tony Stewart and all them. But Jeff Gordon – my first number on my go-kart was 24, and he was the man. That's who I wanted to be. So that'd be cool to race against him.
What was going to be your backup if you didn't become a driver?
TB: I never had a backup plan! (laughs) I remember sitting at my local go-kart track one day, we were all hanging out and playing football under a tree. Like four of us said, "I want to be a race car driver one day!" But one of our buddies said, "I want to play hockey!" And we were like, "Dude, what are you thinking? Who says that?" We thought he was crazy. So I've never wanted to be anything else besides a driver. This has been my focus. And we've always believed that we can do it, too.
Would you rather be known as a great driver or a great person?
TB: Oh man, that's tough. In general, I'd say a person. That's going to get you further. And I think it'll help your career better than (being) a great driver, because there's a lot of drivers that never get a ride because they can't get along with people. It goes back to what I said before – we're more than race car drivers. It's not all we are; it's what we do.