Trevor Bayne said he was not told by anyone on the radio to stop working with Jeff Gordon and ditch his childhood hero at the end of Sunday's NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Rather, he told SiriusXM's The Morning Drive, he realized he should work with Matt Kenseth when he saw the fellow Ford driver "in need."
Bayne had good intentions to work with Gordon, he said. But everything changed when David Ragan blew a motor and it became "common sense" to help Kenseth.
Here are some of Bayne's comments to Sirius:
He came on my radio and I said, 'Who's this?' He said, 'It's Jeff Gordon, man. You gonna work with us or what?' I said, 'Yeah, sure! That'd be awesome!' I mean, since I was 5 years old, I've dreamed about racing Jeff Gordon trying to go for a win and trying to beat him. So I'm like pumped about it.
Obviously, if a Ford needs help, I have to go with him. I probably should have said that to him at the time. I took it for granted, because there were two laps to go and everybody had a teammate. I was just ready to go work with Jeff.
We took the green flag, and the 6 car blew up. When the 6 car blows up, Matt Kenseth pulls up to our bumper – and there's a Ford in need, which we had committed to all week. We said, 'If a Ford needs us, we're going to go help him.' That's just common sense that any team would do.
It's not somebody saying, 'Hey, don't work with anybody else,' it's not a team saying, 'Go make arrangements and then leave somebody.' It wasn't premeditated. It's not like Jack Roush came on the radio and said, 'Hey, go tell Jeff you'll work with him, and then leave him.' It was none of that. It was the fact that all of the sudden, with two laps to go, there was a Ford on our bumper and he didn't have a drafting partner.
At that point, it's a tough decision. I had given Ford my word all week long, and then you've got Jeff Gordon, who you want to work and just talked to about working with – and everything changes in a matter of a lap. It's probably the hardest thing I've ever had come up in my whole career.
Jeff and I are fine. He said, 'Hey, my fans are going to take it hard on you, but you and I are good. You're a good kid and I understand the situation you were put in.'
I hate how it turned out, because I would have loved nothing more than to try to go up there and win that race with Jeff Gordon.