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The return of the Daytona 500 winner....Trevor Bayne!

   Forget everything else about this season. All you need to know about NASCAR is Trevor Bayne (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

    By Mike Mulhern


    BROOKLYN, Mich.
    So welcome back, Trevor Bayne.
    But, uh, word of warning – might want to steer clear of Richard Childress, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Something going on there, and it hasn't been pretty. Or cheap.

    And, good golly, how many weeks has it been now since Jack Roush won a NASCAR race?
    Nearly a month since Matt Kenseth did it at Dover.
    Kenseth is one of the early season's surprises, with wins at Texas and Dover.
    Carl Edwards, of course, could easily be Roush's big winner, though his only win so far was at Las Vegas.
    However here this weekend the focus will be on Roush's newest star, Bayne, making his return to the Sprint Cup tour after nearly two months off while recovering from some mysterious illness.
   Bayne returned to action June 4th, finishing third in the Nationwide race at Chicago. This Sunday's 400 will be his first Cup run since crashing out at Talladega in late April.
   After the Talladega race Bayne found himself on a quick trip to the Mayo Clinic, though doctors, despite extensive testing, couldn't figure out what was causing his vision problems and physical weakness.
   But now Bayne has been okayed to return to the NASCAR game, and it remains to be seen how quickly the 20-year-old surprise Daytona 500 winner can bounce back into the marketing swing of things.
   Roush was pleasantly surprised at how quickly Bayne hit it in the big time (the Tennessee racer has only run nine Cup races). "He is a marketing delight," Roush says. "He is bright, articulate, and a good-looking young fella.
   "And he is a fierce competitor."
   Of course Childress hasn't put Bayne in a head-locked yet…and Busch hasn't shoved him into the wall or the grass…
   Bayne's medical questions, Roush insists, were just "a bump in the road.
    "We went to the Mayo Clinic to get the best advice he could get, and a determination of his issues. They are still not absolutely certain what happened.
    "It is certain he had a reaction to a bug bite.  But they are not clear if that is the only thing that was going on.
    "He may have had an episode with some other neurological issue that was causing his vision problem, in addition to the bug bite.
   "It would be really unusual for those two things to visit a person at the same time, but that has not been ruled out.
   "The spinal tap fluid and other tests did not show anything really sinister.
    "The only thing clinically they could see was the blurred vision, which could have been a number of things, including the bug bite. He had a reaction to this insect or tick bite or whatever it was.
     "It is possible that if it was a neurological issue that he may never have another episode in his adult life or he may have one in five years. That is just not clear. If anybody looked at what their prospects were for ongoing health or problems, his prospects are no different than anybody else in the broader population.
    "He certainly kept himself in good shape and good spirits going through the down time.
   "When they said that they thought he needed more time to make sure his recovery was not exasperated by the elevated temperature and fatigue that would go with the Coke 600 race.
    "The one that was most frustrating and disappointing for him was not being able to race the 300 at Charlotte in the Nationwide car and then the 600 the next day.
   "He took that though and he accepted the advice he was given and he came back like gangbusters when he was able to get back in the car.
   "Trevor Bayne is going to be in this business for a long time. He is going to be unencumbered and unaffected by any negative aspect of his health."

   The Roush turnaround over the past year has been solid, and all the more notable in light of the year and a half of woes that preceded it.
   And this two-mile track is where Roush has had his most success over the years.
   So, time to start thinking 'championship?'
   "We are certainly in the best shape we have ever been in," Roush says. "We have no weakness in our program that I have identified. And we have had some really excellent scenarios where we have been challenged before.
    "This has been the best start we have had in my 24years, and I hope to keep it going.
   "How the new points system and the bonus points are going to work out is yet to be seen.
   "NASCAR wants to have -- and I believe they will achieve -- as close to a jump-ball for the final corner of the final lap at Homestead as they could possibly have.
   "I don't think anybody is going to achieve a runaway."
    As if to make the point, Edwards went into Sunday's Pocono 500 with a 40-point lead, and he left just six points out front, as the tour reaches the halfway mark of the 26-race regular season.
   And what really happened under Edward's hood at Pocono? He broke his engine 150 miles into the 500.
    "We had a minor valve train problem," Roush says. "As we traced it back, was the result of a material inclusion in the head of one of the intake valves.
    "We have not had to redesign any component in the engine."


    Trevor Bayne: Back at the wheel of the Woods' 21 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

i'am a edwards fan but a ford

i'am a edwards fan but a ford fan truly but if edwards jumps ship to jgr i have my next favorite driver. i mean look at his runs in the woods 21 better than david ragan most times. i remember when bill elliott drove it laps down.i think he would be awsome in the 99.

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