By Lee Montgomery
LEBANON, Tenn. - Trevor Bayne's life has clearly changed since he won the Daytona 500. But to hear the young driver talk about the two months since winning the biggest race in NASCAR, one wonders about Bayne's life before the 500.
Bayne now jokes that his life is on a schedule for the first time. He was used to doing pretty much whatever he wanted - whenever he wanted.
He talked Friday at Nashville Superspeedway about his younger brother being out until midnight on a school night. Well, he wasn't really joking.
"My family, we just never had bed times or a schedule," said Bayne, who will drive Roush Fenway Racing's No. 16 Ford in Saturday's Nationwide Series race. "It was kind of a free-for-all."
Teen-agers across the world would be jealous. No curfew? Where exactly are Bayne's parents?
Oh, but that's all changed now.
"Used to, when I came back to Knoxville, I'd get home at 1 o'clock in the morning," Bayne said of his hometown. "We'd be out kayaking or riding four-wheelers or going to the mall. Now, when I get home, I just sleep the whole time."
Wait, kayaking at 1 a.m.?
"No, we'll go out kayaking and then hang out until 1 in the morning," Bayne said with a laugh. "I can promise you we aren't getting on the water that late."
Good thing Bayne is a good guy, for many his age would certainly take advantage of all the freedom.
But that was then. The freedom is pretty much gone.
"I'm having to be on a schedule for the first time in my life," Bayne said.
"I used to be able to go out and do all those things," Bayne said.
There are negatives to winning the Daytona 500, though he's not complaining. In addition to being, gasp, on a schedule, many expect Bayne to run up front every week.
Of course, Bayne has internalized those expectations.
"The people who weren't race fans and heard about the Daytona 500 and got involved on Twitter, they're the ones who come up to me while I'm eating and are like, 'Man, why can't you stay off the wall?'" Bayne said.
Bayne just smiles and brushes it off. He does that a lot.
Nothing, it seems, can wipe the smile off Bayne's face - not even his schedule.