Background- This young man basically came out of nowhere and won the Daytona 500 this spring (2011). Absolutely amazing for that to happen. Then he got a bite of some sort on his arm (unknown what bit him- spider or tick?) and went downhill from there. Lyme disease was suspected and he was treated for it.
UPDATE 2/15/12- See the second article below about Lyme disease going to the opening races in Daytona by way of jumbotron!
Daytona 500 champ Trevor Bayne reflects on his illness
By AL PEARCE on 5/26/2011
Reigning Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne has spent the past month or so reading and hearing that he has everything from cancer to Lyme disease to leukemia. In fact, he said on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, no one seems to know precisely what illness or combination of illnesses have forced him to miss the last five NASCAR weekends.
The 20-year-old Roush Fenway/Wood Brothers driver faced the media for the first time since being hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in early May. He won't run Saturday afternoon's Nationwide Series 300 or in Sunday night's Sprint Cup 600 at Charlotte, but he expects to return for next weekend's Nationwide race near Chicago and the June 12 Cup race in Michigan.
“I finally had to accept that nobody knows what it is,” said Bayne, the youngest-ever Daytona 500 winner. “I can promise you that if I was just tired or not feeling great, I'd still have been in the car because I'm a racer. I went to bed Monday night [after the April 22-24 Talladega weekend] feeling great and woke up Tuesday seeing two of stuff. I went to the hospital and had the best doctors in the world at the Mayo Clinic checking me, and they don't know what it was.
“They treated me for things they thought it could be. Just like that bite, whether it was Lyme or not. They don't have any evidence of that, but they still treated it. Since then, all my symptoms have gone away. Everything is pretty much 100 percent back to normal and that's pretty exciting. [The doctors'] biggest hope is that it was an isolated event that's gone now. It could be a series of events where you get a bug bite and your immune system is down.
“We'd been running hard every day for a couple months after Daytona, and it wears down your immune system. That's what I'm hoping for, but only time will tell. I don't have an official diagnosis, so they treated everything they thought it could be. Since then, everything has gone away. To me, they hit on something. Hopefully it was an isolated scenario where a lot of things were going on and my immune system was down, and [I] got a bite.”
Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark and Wood Brothers co-owner Eddie Wood thanked the media for the respectful way they've reported their driver's illness and treatment.
“I want to express our gratitude for the respectful way you guys have treated this story,” Newmark said. “We recognize it's newsworthy and something you have to follow and report on, and we appreciate the fact that [the media] respected the privacy of a 20-year-old and let us work through this.”
Said Wood: “Thanks to everyone for the respect they gave our team, as well as Trevor going through this. Everybody has treated us with a lot of respect--which you always have--and I appreciate that. We're all excited that Trevor is back. He's our guy and our driver, so whatever he's going through, we're going through. We've tried to make the best of it. I'm glad he's back. You guys can see how he has that warm and fuzzy feel again.”
Bayne said his recent difficulties have revealed a side of racing he'd never fully appreciated.
“The biggest thing I've learned through this is how supportive people in the garage are,” he said. “Carl Edwards flew up to see me in Minnesota [at the Mayo Clinic], and Tony Stewart used his plane to fly my family back and forth. Jack Roush sent me back and forth on his plane, and his guys came out and hung out for the night. Michael McDowell was there for five days. Everybody in the garage texted me at least once to see how I was doing.
“Another thing that's been put into perspective is how blessed I am to be a race-car driver. You get wrapped up sometimes and go through the motions. But when you have to sit for four or five weeks, you realize how cool it is to be driving. In a sense, I'm actually thankful for this eye-opener. It's been tough, like this week when I thought I was ready to go and they had to give me another week to make sure I could be competitive. I'm looking forward to hanging out this weekend and finally being at the track. Missing [last weekend's] All-Star Race crushed me, but I'm back now and as ready to go as ever.”
Trevor Bayne said no one seems to know precisely what illness or combination of illnesses have forced him to miss the last five NASCAR weekends.
Lyme Disease is Going to the NASCAR Races- the Daytona 500!
Shortly after winning the Daytona 500 last year, Trevor Bayne was bitten by what was thought to be a tick or a spider. It was reported he had Lyme disease. He was hospitalized and given IV's immediately and eventually recovered. He missed a number of races, but was able to come back to finish the season.
This year Lyme disease is going to the Daytona 500, courtesy of a pro-bono spot on a jumbotron, reports Donna Weidel, President of Burgess Communications, who has suffered with Lyme disease.
The 30 second spot contains clips from the award winning movie, Under Our Skin, and directs people to the movie's website and ILADS site.
Good luck to Trevor Bayne and all the drivers and crews during the 2012 racing season. We hope they will be safe in and out of the cars, and on and off the track!
Lucy Barnes- 2/16/12