Trevor Bayne, the 20-year-old surprise winner of this year's Daytona 500 event in February, will once again sit out a NASCAR Nationwide series race this week at Dover International Speedway as he continues to recover from a mystery illness.
However, it's hoped that Bayne will be back for next week's NASCAR events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Iowa, which includes the All-Star Race for which he qualified with that Daytona victory.
"Trevor's symptoms have subsided and we are very encouraged by his progress," said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. "Still, we are going to exercise an element of caution with his return to the track and keep him out of competition for at least another week."
Bayne - who races for Roush Fenway Racing in the Nationwide series, and has a limited program of Sprint Cup appearances with the Wood Brothers - recently spent a week at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota as doctors sought to diagnose a condition resulting in symptoms of nausea, fatigue and vision impairment.
Although the nausea and fatigue lessened while he was in the hospital, and the vision impairment was responding well to medication, the underlying cause still eluded the medics. The doctors said at the time of Bayne's release that "this symptom appears to be the result of an inflammatory condition. Further assessments will be made over the next couple of weeks."
It's thought that the original cause of the problem might be a spider or insect bite that caused Bayne's arm to swell up early in April, and which saw him spend a day at hospital for observation. He was quickly released at the time and resumed racing duties, until the team noticed a recurrence of the symptoms later in the month and decided to send him for tests. That resulted in a week-long stay at the specialist Mayo Clinic, the same facility that team owner Jack Roush recuperated at last year after losing vision in his left eye following a plane crash.
Bayne's condition has continued to improve in the week since he left the clinic and returned home to North Carolina, but the team have still decided that they will err on the side of caution and keep him out of the seat again.
"Trevor is itching to get back out on the race track, and, although it's hard to keep someone with his passion away, we feel it is in his best interest to hold off for another week," said Newmark. "As of now, we, along with the Wood Brothers, are planning for Trevor to return next week and compete in the Sprint Cup All-Star event in Charlotte and the Nationwide Series race in Iowa."
Dover will be the third consecutive Nationwide race that Bayne has missed. In both the previous races, Bayne's seat was taken by 18-year-old Roush Fenway development driver Chris Buescher, who finished a solid 17th place in both races. However, for the Monster Mile, Buescher has a prior conflicting commitment in the ARCA Series that means he is unable to race the #16 at Dover.
As a result, the Roush Fenway team has opted to call up Kevin Swindell, 17-year-old son of Sprint Car legend Sammy Swindell. He has been competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series where he has won two poles and led 213 laps in 15 starts. Swindell will join Roush Fenway team mates Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse for the Saturday afternoon event.
"In traditional Jack Roush fashion, he is going to use this opportunity to give another young developmental driver a chance to showcase his skills," said Steve Newmark.