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Bayne closer to next phase

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          NASCAR NEWS - Thursday, May 22, 2008

Age no longer a factor, Bayne closer to next phase
Teen a development driver for DEI in Camping World East
By Raygan Swan, NASCAR.COM

Trevor Bayne is breathing a sigh of relief these days.

The 17-year-old just learned NASCAR's talks of increasing 
the legal racing age to 21 have ended and his journey into 
the big leagues will commence promptly after his 18th 
birthday in February. 

Officials from NASCAR talked during the offseason about 
potentially increasing the age limit from 18 to 21 but 
recently decided against it. 

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"It was a scary subject for a long time and I've been on 
edge of my seat. Teams have big investments in these young 
development drivers, so I'm glad they decided to stay with 
the 18 age," said Bayne, who in May of 2007 was tapped to 
join Dale Earnhardt Inc. as a development driver and 
compete in the Camping World Series East. 

Signed to a long-term contract with DEI, along with Jeffrey 
Earnhardt, grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt, and Jesus 
Hernandez, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity recipient, Bayne 
and his teammates all finished in the top 10 of Sunday's 
US Cellular 200 at Iowa Speedway. Bayne finished fourth in 
the Camping World event, followed closely by Earnhardt in 
fifth and Hernandez in sixth. Sprint Cup star Kasey Kahne 
competed as well and finished third. 

"Racing behind Kahne was cool. This was a big day for 
everyone involved with our driver development program," 
said Bayne, driver of the No. 1 DEI Chevrolet. "For us 
to put all three cars in the top 10 says a lot about our 
drivers, our crews and the guys in the shop." 

Bayne's crew chief, Haskell Lavalette, agreed.

"Those are the types of races we expected to have when we 
put this program together," Lavalette said. "We knew these 
kids could drive, it was just a matter of getting them 
some seat time and getting them used to this level of 
competition," he said. "Once we can start doing that on a 
regular basis, you'll see each of these guys competing for 
the win in every race." 

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In addition to the Camping World schedule, Bayne also is 
running a full schedule in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup 
Southern Division with a team Bayne and his father have 
operated for three years. 

Bayne, a Knoxville, Tenn. native, began racing go-karts 
when he was 5. Throughout the next eight years, he won 
more than 300 events and earned 22 titles including World 
Karting Association champion three times. 

In 2004, he moved up to the Allison Legacy Race Series 
where Bayne posted two victories, five pole positions and 
11 top-five finishes in 19 starts on his way to winning 
rookie of the year. Just 13 years old, he was both the 
youngest race winner and youngest top rookie since the 
series began. 

The following season, Bayne's 2005 Allison Legacy campaign 
produced 12 wins, 14 pole positions and 19 top-five 
finishes to become the series' national champion. 


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Bayne then stepped up to the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series 
Southern Division and won rookie of the year. At 15, he 
again was the youngest in series' history to earn top 
rookie honors. 

Now at DEI, Bayne hopes to continue his success in the 
Nationwide Series. 

A year ago, he left his family in Knoxville and moved to 
Mooresville, N.C., in order to be close to his team. It's 
not been an easy transition for the teenager but he has 
found friendships amongst his teammates, namely Jeffrey 

Before the Iowa event, the two raced the track on Bayne's 
racing simulator Friday and again on Monday, a day after 
the live action on the track. 

"We are always going at it racing each other online, and 
if we aren't racing each other online, we race each other 
at the go-kart track here in Mooresville," Bayne said. 
"For us, racing is a lifestyle, not just something we 
do on weekends." 

Bayne will be in Camping World action again May 31 at 
South Boston (Va.) Speedway for the Strutmasters.com 150. 

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