By Keith Waltz
One day after celebrating his 20th birthday, Trevor Bayne surprised race fans around the world when he drove the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford to an upset victory in the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Bayne, a short-track racing phenom from Knoxville, Tennessee, was making only his second NASCAR Cup Series start on Feb. 20, 2011, when he beat Carl Edwards to the stripe by .118 seconds in a second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
“I keep thinking I’m dreaming. Our first 500 – are you kidding me?” Bayne said during post-race festivities. “To win our first one in our second-ever Cup race, I mean this is just incredible. … How cool is it to see the Wood Brothers back in victory lane?”
Bayne started 32nd and led only the final six laps in a race that featured a record 74 lead changes among 22 drivers. He assumed command on lap 203 of NASCAR Overtime when David Ragan was forced to pit road due to a restart penalty.
Once in front, Bayne was able to fend off Edwards and David Gilliland during the final restart and over the final two trips around the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Bayne ended up making 187 NASCAR Cup Series starts. His final series race was on Nov. 4, 2018, at Texas Motor Speedway, and the 2011 Daytona 500 was his only series victory.
Bayne returned to NASCAR racing in 2020, making eight starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but his business, Mahalo Coffee Roasters, in Knoxville, Tennessee, continues to be his primary focus.