Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What did Matt Kenseth's crew chief find inspiring in Sunday's race?

   On Tuesday, Jason Ratliff, crew chief for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth, was asked about how calm and collected Kenseth appeared to be following what was likely one of his more disappointing days at the race track this season.

   Kenseth finished 23rd at Phoenix and has fallen 28 points behind Jimmie Johnson with just one race remaining. In the hours after the race, Ratliff was able to find something inspiring.

   Let him explain:

    "It was something that after I was away from the racetrack for a few hours thinking about, okay, what could we do better, how can we prevent those types of days from happening, especially in these types of situations where we're battling for championships, the one thing that struck me - after I was away from it for a little bit, that I was most impressed with was exactly what you just mentioned, and that is how Matt is able to keep his composure, and even though I know he's in that car just ready to chew the steering wheel off the thing because I know he's frustrated as the rest of it, he's as competitive as the rest of us, very disappointed, had high expectations going into Phoenix, and we still do going into Homestead," Ratliff said.

   "But he was very rational, even though he's disappointed. He keeps his composure and does a really nice job of putting things into perspective. I think a lot of that, again, is from his experience, but at the same time I think that's Matt's personality. I think he takes things in and thinks through them very well, and in the end he knows that nothing positive is going to come from me getting out of the car and stomping my feet, even though that's really what I want to do. So how do we take this situation, pull something positive from it, learn from it so we can be better in the future?

   "That was something for me as a crew chief, I've worked with a lot of different drivers, and that's something that was very inspiring for me as well as this race team. When you have a driver like that, I mean, that leads by example with that type of composure in the midst of adversity, it just goes a long way, you know."


Former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

   Former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, who is competing fulltime in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series this season, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

   MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord that can produce a wide range of signs and symptoms including both physical and mental and varying in degree.
   “I’ve never been more driven to compete,” Bayne said in a statement released Tuesday. “My goals are the same as they’ve been since I started racing. I want to compete at the highest level and I want to win races and championships. I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I feel good,” added Bayne.
   “There are currently no symptoms and I’m committed to continuing to take the best care of my body as possible. I will continue to trust in God daily and know that His plan for me is what is best."

   Bayne, who won the 2011 Daytona 500 while driving part-time for the Wood Brothers, was sidelined for over two months later that season with various symptoms, including nausea, fatigue and blurred vision.

   Bayne began feeling better after he received treatment for Lyme, a bacterial infection spread through the bite of the black-legged tick. He missed several races while undergoing multiple tests last summer and doctors searched for a cause.

   In January 2012, Bayne told reporters doctors believed he had contracted Lyme disease from an insect bite.

   Bayne returned to racing in June 2011 after missing five races and won the Nationwide race at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 5 of that season.

   Last season, Bayne ran partial schedules in both the Nationwide and Cup series. This year, he returned to a fulltime ride in Nationwide and with one race remaining this season, has one win, six top-five and 20 top-10 finishes and is sixth in the series standings.

   Bayne, 22, has also made 11 Cup starts this season with the Wood Brothers with a best finish of 16th at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.