NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne said Tuesday that he has multiple sclerosis, but he does not expect it to impact his racing career.
Bayne, a Knoxville native, became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history in 2011.
Bayne will still compete as scheduled at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series finales. Bayne's younger sister, Sarah, also has multiple sclerosis.
The 22-year-old Bayne was sidelined for five races in 2011 for an illness that led to hospitalization at the Mayo Clinic. Doctors ultimately called it an "inflammatory condition," and it was never made clear if it was related to an insect bite he'd suffered weeks earlier.
He underwent a spinal tap during his hospitalization, and doctors ruled out Lyme disease at the time. Bayne was initially admitted to the Mayo Clinic in 2011 for nausea, fatigue and double vision. He'd been treated weeks earlier following a race at Texas after experiencing numbness in his arm while driving, and thought the condition was related to the insect bite.
MS is a potentially disabling disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms can be mild, such as fatigue, or severe, including paralysis or loss of vision. There is no cure, but treatment can help manage symptoms and reduce the progress of the disease.
Bayne said he is still scheduled to drive for Roush-Fenway Racing full-time next season in the Nationwide Series, and a partial Cup schedule for The Wood Brothers. He goes into this weekend with one Nationwide Series win this year - at Iowa - and is ranked sixth in the points standings.