After five weeks of being out of sight due to an undisclosed illness, Trevor Bayne emerged from the cone of silence that had been surrounding him and his condition. Although Bayne will not race this weekend, he will return to his Nationwide ride at Chicago and his Cup ride in a few weeks at Michigan.
[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Kyle Busch, on the other hand, who has been in the spotlight all week due to an excessive speeding citation, is sticking to his story, as well as showing great remorse and contrition. Busch was ticketed for driving 128 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone at 1:52 PM this past Tuesday in a residential section of Mooresville, North Carolina.
Both drivers faced the media today as part of the racing weekend activities at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Yet the two could not have been more opposite in their reactions on entering the media center, with Bayne ebullient to be back at the track while Busch appeared polite but subdued.
“I missed you guys,” Bayne, driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford in the Cup Series and the No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford in the Nationwide Series, as he took to the media stage. “It has been bad being away.”
“I have been fine for over a week now,” Bayne continued. “Last weekend I took it off as a caution and this week they made me take it off as a caution.”
The caution was also out for Kyle Busch, but for a very different reason. Busch’s caution resulted from a very speedy shake down behind the wheel of a Lexus sports car that had been loaned to him by the manufacturer.
“Obviously I had a lack of judgment and just made a mistake,” Busch said as he told his story to the sport’s media corps.
“And I’m sorry for making that mistake,” Busch continued. “Fortunately there was no one hurt, but that doesn’t make any kind of any excuse for what happened and for my lack in judgment for what I did.”
In contrast to Busch, Bayne was so anxious to be back on the track and back in a race car that he was even more irrepressibly happy and excited than usual. The 20 year old driver, however, still had no explanation for the double vision, fatigue and general malaise that had kept him sidelined.
“The cause isn’t exactly sure yet,” Bayne said. “Their biggest hope is that it was an isolated event that is temporary and is gone now.”
“The diagnosis, I don’t have it yet,” Bayne continued. “It could be just a series of events where you get a bug bite and your immune system is down. Whether that is it or not, only time will tell that.”
“I still don’t have an official diagnosis but they treated everything they thought it could be and since then everything has gone away,” Bayne said. “To me, they hit something.
Just as Bayne cannot explain his physical ailments, Busch had no real explanation for his unlawful behavior.
“I’m certainly sorry that it happened and my actions led me to speed,” Busch said. “It was a lack of judgment and all I can do is apologize to the public, my friends, my fans, my sponsors and everybody.”
“All I can do is say me piece here and let it be.”
While both Busch and Bayne could not explain their behavior and illness respectively, the two certainly have one thing in common. They both are taking away ‘lessons learned’ from their experiences.
“I look at this experience as a learning experience,” Busch said.
Busch’s team owner, Joe Gibbs, echoed the fact that Busch had much to learn from his offense. In fact, the team owner is even considering possible sanctions.
“Any disciplinary action is something we’re going through (deciding),” Gibbs said. “That’s things we talk about and discuss.”
“Obviously we didn’t think suspending him was something we were going to do,” Gibbs continued. “We’re going through a process to try and make sure we do the right thing and treat this as a serious issue.”
“I’m hoping that somehow out of this something positive will come out of it.”
Bayne has also learned quite a few life lessons from his time away from the sport being poked, prodded, and tested.
“I think the biggest thing I have learned through all of this is how supportive everyone in our sport is,” Bayne said. “It has been incredible to me and a real eye opener.”
“Carl Edwards flew up and saw me in Minnesota and Tony Stewart was using his plane to fly my family back and forth,” Bayne continued. “Everybody in the garage texted me at least once to see how I was doing and that means a lot to me.”
“Another thing that has sometimes been put into perspective for me is how blessed we are to be race car drivers,” Bayne said. “You get wrapped up sometimes and go through the motions, but when you have to sit there for four or five weeks and watch races you realize how cool it is that you get to be the one driving.”
“I am actually in a sense thankful for this eye opener.”
While Bayne has indeed been cleared to return to the track, Busch on the other hand has not been cleared of his charges, with a court date instead of a return to the track date in his future.
“I leave that to the court system,” Busch said. “This matter will be handled through that as best we can handle it and as best the authorities decide to handle it.”
Ironically, the young driver Bayne, who has spent so much time recently away from the sport he loves, had this sage advice to share with the more veteran driver Busch.
“We all need to be responsible and I think we are all young or whatever,” Bayne said. “Hopefully I learn from everybody else and don’t do anything like that.”
“I am blessed and happy to be a race car driver.”
Bayne will be on hand at Charlotte to cheer his good friend and teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who will not only substitute for Bayne in the Coca Cola 600 but also make his own Cup debut. Stenhouse Jr. qualified the No. 21 race car in on time and will start in the ninth position.
“I think he will do a great job in the Cup car,” Bayne said. “I told him to just enjoy it a little bit and not stress out too much about it.”
Busch will also be busy during the Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He will be running the Top Gear 300 Nationwide race as well as the Coca Cola 600 Cup race.