Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
CONCORD, N.C. - Doctors still aren't sure what ailed NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Trevor Bayne, but they're comfortable enough that his symptoms have abated to let him drive a racecar.
For his part, Bayne, 20, is chafing to get back behind the wheel of the two cars he'll drive again in June - the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford in the Sprint Cup Series and the No. 16 Nationwide Series Ford fielded by Roush Fenway Racing.
Sidelined since the April 17 Cup race at Talladega by an illness the world's best doctors have yet to identify, Bayne will return to the track for the June 4 Nationwide race at Chicagoland Speedway. Two weeks later, he'll compete in the Cup race at Michigan for the Wood Brothers.
Two trips to the Mayo Clinic and batteries of extensive tests didn't yield an answer to the origin of Bayne's symptoms-nausea, swelling, numbness and double vision. Doctors treated Bayne for Lyme disease-because an insect or tick bite was cited as a possible cause of his symptoms-but there's no clear evidence he ever had it.
Bayne looked fit during an animated news conference Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the urgency in his voice had more to do with his return to racing than with finding a cause for his mystery illness.
"I went to the hospital and had the best doctors in the world at the Mayo Clinic checking me out and they don't know," Bayne said. "That's all it is. I have had to accept that. They treated me for things that they thought it could be, just like that bite - whether it was Lyme or not - they don't have any evidence of that but they treated it just to knock it out, and since then all my symptoms have gone away. Everything is pretty much 100 percent back to normal and that is pretty exciting."
Bayne said the symptoms were double-vision and in inflammation in the area of the insect bite.
"The cause isn't exactly sure yet," Bayne said. "Their biggest hope is that it was an isolated event that is temporary and is gone now. The diagnosis, I don't have it yet. I don't know. It could be just a series of events where you get a bug bite and your immune system is down and we had been running for a couple months hard every day after Daytona and it wears down your immune system.
"That is what I am hoping for. Whether that is it or not, only time will tell with that. I still don't have an official diagnosis but they treated everything they thought it could be and since then everything has gone away. To me, they hit something."
Bayne said doctors did rule out several things, saying it was "not anything terminal or anything like that."
"I heard somebody say cancer and leukemia and those things but that is not even a word that I heard in the hospital," Bayne said. "That was not even an option. They have ruled out all those things. They have treated me and they thought that one thing could have been the Lyme's but they didn’t think it was anything like a serious Lyme.
"Other than that, there are no symptoms or anything showing on the spinal tap or blood work of it being anything else. I am hoping it was a temporary inflammation that caused that and it has been going away, as they said from day one that it should be like a four-week deal and go away. That is pretty much what happened.”