2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne made a career move for the 2022 NASCAR season. He began working as part of FOX Sports, which included appearances on “NASCAR Race Hub.” Learning TV has not been simple, but Bayne has embraced getting out of his comfort zone.
As Bayne joked during an interview with Heavy, he didn’t realize the amount of work that went into a TV broadcast. He had some previous exposure from his time competing in the three national series, but he hadn’t seen the full depth of the work involved. Bayne’s perspective changed with his first few episodes of “NASCAR Race Hub.”
“I have enjoyed that side of it. I’ve enjoyed having to study a little bit,” Bayne said. “I’ve really enjoyed learning how to interact on TV. The first couple episodes, I was super, super nervous. And I know it’s always a joke, like, what do you do with your hands? You’re standing here the whole time and you’re just like, ‘All right, I’m standing here. Now, where am I gonna put my hands for this whole interview?'”
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Jeff Gordon Played an Unlikely Role in Bayne’s Move
The move to TV was not automatic for Bayne after his full-time career came to a halt in 2018. Instead, he stepped away from racing and focused on building Mahalo Coffee Roasters for a few years. However, a big decision by Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon played an unlikely role in Bayne pursuing a spot in the FOX Sports family.
“I saw Jeff Gordon was going to retire from TV stuff and go back to Hendrick Motorsports,” Bayne said. “And I thought, ‘Man, that’s gonna leave a hole somewhere.’ I’ve always enjoyed doing interviews but never had considered pursuing TV as like a career when I was done racing. If I wasn’t driving, I didn’t think I’d want to be around it. But after three years of not being around the sport, I started to miss the people and miss the action.”
Bayne made some calls and expressed interest in taking on a TV role. He didn’t have any reels of past work to send over to FOX Sports, but the broadcaster took a chance on him and put him in the booth for an ARCA race. Bayne expanded to “NASCAR Race Hub” and become a more prominent part of the crew.
Taking the Proper Approach With Each Segment
There was a learning curve for Bayne when he made the leap to TV. He had to figure out hitting his marks, talking to the right cameras, putting his hands in the best position, and numerous other important details. There was also the task of coming up with interview questions that his fellow drivers hadn’t heard roughly 300 times before.
Certain parts of the learning process were easier for Bayne. He knew how to approach conversations with other drivers, which helped him talk to Chase Elliott about flying planes instead of whether the No. 9 would be fast for the upcoming race weekend. Other aspects, such as the technical details, took a little bit of time.
One part of the job is still a work in progress. Bayne continues to examine the different ways in which he can approach the biggest storylines in NASCAR. How does he handle situations like Joey Logano sending William Byron into the wall or Denny Hamlin interrupting Alex Bowman’s victory burnout?
“When you have to talk about somebody else, like, there’s a little bit of finesse there,” Bayne said. “I don’t want to be the guy that jumps on TV as a Monday morning quarterback and blasts somebody for a mistake. We always also have to be truthful and give an opinion. So kind of that finesse of balance of like, how do I be respectful? How do I call things what they are? Luckily, I have not been in a tough position on that. But you know, you want to want to share an opinion that you have about things.”
Bayne will continue to grow as an analyst as he gets more reps on the FOX Sports shows. He will learn the intricacies of approaching controversial moments, and he will become more comfortable with his co-hosts. Bayne will also work on balancing his racing schedule with his time on TV and his responsibilities at Mahalo Coffee Roasters. As he pursues this goal, he will continue to embrace all of the work involved.