A week after being hospitalised
for symptoms of fatigue and nausea, 20-year-old Daytona 500 surprise winner Trevor Bayne remains at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota undergoing tests for a mystery illness.
Initially, Roush Fenway President Steve Newmark said last Friday that he hoped ordering Bayne to the hospital was just an overreaction by the team, but the length of the stay has caused increasing rumours as to what exactly might be wrong with Bayne's health.
In addition to fatigue and nausea, Bayne is said to have suffered from blurred and double vision, a rash and earlier swelling and numbness affecting his left arm.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN - part of a medical research group of hospitals and clinics - still have not made any final diagnosis and have refused to answer questions about whether this could have a long-term impact on Bayne's racing career.
It's still not clear whether the mystery illness is even in fact related to the insect bite he suffered earlier in April following the Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Bayne himself posted on Twitter at the weekend to say "Still at the hospital! Don't think its related to the bite. But we'll see!"
A Roush Fenway Racing spokesman said that it was now highly unlikely that Bayne would take part at this weekend's Darlington Nationwide series race, which would be the second consecutive NNS event he will have been forced to miss after having to watch the #16 be driven by Chris Buescher at the Richmond event.
"Ahhh it stinks to watch my car make laps from this view," he tweeted at the weekend. "Hopefully we'll know what's goin on soon! Thanks everyone!"
Steve Newmark said such questions about when Bayne would return to race duty were entirely secondary to the bigger issue of getting Bayne well again. "It's not even the focus," he said of the decision about Darlington. "If the doctors say he's cleared, then we'll race. If they say no, he won't. If it's somewhere in the middle, you sit down with the family and talk about it."
Understandably, the Roush Fenway team is limiting the disclosure of sensitive medical information out of respect for Bayne and his family, but USA Today
reported that team owner Jack Roush told a reporter for Motor Racing Network last weekend that "he's been in the clinic all week. They've done some tests on him. They haven't found anything sinister. There's nothing wrong with him that they can find that would preclude him from having a normal life, a normal career and doing all the things he's destined to do."
Roush himself recuperated at the same clinic last year after losing vision in his left eye following a plane crash.
The Roush Fenway Racing spokesman said a final decision about Bayne's participation at Darlington would not be made until Thursday. If he's unable to race then he would probably once again be replaced by Buescher, an 18-year-old Roush Fenway development driver who finished 17th last week at Richmond in Bayne's place.
Despite sitting out Richmond, Bayne is still seventh in the Nationwide Series standings, 45 points behind the leader. He is not due to compete in the Sprint Cup series again (where he drives for part-time outfit Wood Brothers) until the All-Star Race in Charlotte on May 21, after the team previously opted to switch from running at Darlington to appearing at Daytona on July 2 instead.
Bayne qualified for the All-Star competition with his Daytona 500 win in February.