Back in 2008, Trevor Bayne came to Myrtle Beach Speedway to run at a Hooter's Pro Cup series event. Three years later, the Knoxville, Tennessee native has won NASCAR's biggest prize, the Daytona 500.
Bayne celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday. One day later, driving a Ford Fusion, he earned $1.4 million dollars for taking the checkers at NASCAR's season opening Cup race. Bayne won by just 0.118 seconds ahead of Carl Edwards. It was Bayne's second Sprint Cup start ever.
The Daytona 500 had a record 74 lead changes among 22 different drivers. At the end of the day, it was Bayne, the youngest winner in the 53 year history of the Daytona 500. Under NASCAR's new rules, since Bayne is racing for the Nationwide Series Championship, he cannot receive Sprint Cup points. Carl Edwards leaves Daytona as the 2011 Sprint Cup points leader with 42. Bayne finished 10th in the Nationwide race on Saturday at Daytona. He is 5th in Nationwide points heading to Phoenix next weekend.
Bayne joins an impressive list of four other Wood Brothers Racing drivers who have made it to victory lane at the Daytona 500. Timmonsville's Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, Tiny Lund and A.J. Foyt also piloted the 21-car to the checkers in the Great American Race. Lund was the first Wood Brothers driver to grab a 500 title back in 1963 driving a Ford. Yarborough in 1968, Foyt in 1972 and Pearson in 1976 all turned the trick in a Mercury.
As a teenager, competing at Myrtle Beach Speedway, Bayne won an Allison Legacy event and in 2007 he took the checkers the Mark Brooks Memorial Bi-Lo 250. Last season, he made one Sprint Cup start at Texas Motor Speedway and finished 17th. He was 7th in the 2010 Nationwide points standings with five top-5 finishes but no wins.