By: Lee Spencer, NASCAR Senior Writer 2016-05-28
Ask Trevor Bayne to point out the key to his resurgence this season, and don’t be surprised if the word “AdvoCare” turns up somewhere in his answer.
A shameless sponsor plug? Maybe. But the 25-year-old driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford has experienced an uptick in his performance since he partnered with his sponsor, on the track and off.
“That relationship has been one of the best relationships — if not the best relationship — that I’ve had in all of my career with a partner and a sponsor for more than one reason,” Bayne said of the sports performance product company.
“They’ve committed to sponsor every single race, which is incredible at this level. But beyond that, the people in that company and the distributors, they are all super fit people, and it motivates you to keep fit yourself and keeps you accountable.”
Like many young racers, Bayne didn’t realize he was out of shape until he started working out. When he arrived on the NASCAR scene at 16, energy wasn’t an issue. He made his K&N Pro Series debut in 2007 and two years later spent a half-season in the Xfinity tour. After a full season in NXS, his breakout came the following year when he won the 2011 Daytona 500 in the venerable No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford in just his second Sprint Cup start.
A lifestyle overhaul
Bayne appeared destined to be the next great young gun in the sport — but his career stalled after the win.
Until last year, the most Cup races Bayne had run in a single season was 17 in 2011. With the longer races, Bayne knew if he wanted to perform at the top level in NASCAR, his routine had to change. After the young racer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013, a lifestyle overhaul was in order.
His secret weapon?
Before AdvoCare was courted by Roush, Bayne was already customer. Over the last two years, Bayne has incorporated more aerobic activity to build his endurance.
“The product is incredible, and it’s been really good for me to take it to keep me fresh and hydrated before the races. It’s been a big part of my routine and helps me in the car. Also, being around fit people — like the distributors — you can’t be an overweight race car driver and out of shape if you’re going to work for AdvoCare.
“I feel like now is the most that I’ve ever been. I’ve been running a lot more. I’ve been running 25 to 30 miles a week and doing a little bit of road biking. I did a 5k the day after the All-Star race. We got home at 2 a.m. Woke up at 6:30 and had to go run that 5k for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and did pretty well with that.”
After winning his segment in the Sprint Showdown the night before to transfer into the All-Star race for since 2012, Bayne had plenty of incentive. He improved his personal best record in the 5k by three minutes and finished first in his age group.
Over the last few years he’s witnessed drivers and crews step up their exercise game from veterans such as Johnson and Matt Kenseth to new wave of young stars entering the sport. The competition has heated up off the track as drivers monitor each other’s workouts via a fitness app.