Film Study & Feedback: Inside Trevor Bayne’s Growth as an Analyst [EXCLUSIVE]

Trevor Bayne

FOX Sports 2022 was Trevor Bayne's first full season as a FOX Sports analyst.

2022 was Trevor Bayne’s first full season as an analyst for FOX Sports. There was a steep learning curve for the former Daytona 500 winner, but he also made major strides during his extensive time on TV.

Bayne sat down with Heavy prior to the 2023 NASCAR season and he detailed some highs and lows of a unique year working alongside Kaitlyn Vincie, Todd Bodine, Larry McReynolds, and other FOX Sports analysts.

There were small things to learn, such as avoiding answering questions by saying “I mean” at the start. There were also major things, such as transitioning from the role of a driver where every question is about your career, to that of an interviewer where the focus is on other people and their experiences.

“I sat down with Joey Logano, John Hunter Nemechek, and that was really on the other side of it,” Bayne said. “It was kind of humbling, to be honest. Like, ‘Okay, we’re not talking about my career anymore.’ But it was really good for me.

“And then in that, something that I had to learn is just how to engage the next question, how to pick up off of what they said and interact in that. Not just like, ‘Okay, now we’re talking about this,’ you know, jump to the next thing without any kind of transition. So that was really interesting to learn.”

Working for FOX Sports as an analyst is a constant learning experience, whether Bayne is in the booth for an ARCA race or in the studio for “NASCAR RaceDay.” He has embraced this challenge, and he knows that he still has work to put in before he feels like he truly has it down.

Fortunately, this process is made easier in multiple ways. First, Bayne does significant film study to see where he can make improvements. He also receives feedback from several key figures at FOX Sports. This list includes SVP of Production Steve Craddock, VP of NASCAR Production Lindsey Mandia, VP of Production Frank Wilson, Senior Producer Greg Cacali, and Senior Producer Max Harnett.


Bayne’s Racing Career Helps ‘Break the Ice’

Trevor Bayne

GettyTrevor Bayne waves to fans at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Conducting interesting interviews is no simple task. The subjects have often heard certain questions hundreds of times, which can lead to mundane answers that seem rehearsed. It takes a lot of preparation and skill to get interesting responses.

As a driver, however, Bayne has a different approach that he can take. Obviously, there are specific questions that he must ask about certain races or car setups, but he can also use his own time competing against his peers as a way to break the proverbial ice and make them more comfortable.

“Those relationships help a ton,” Bayne said. “I sat down with Joey, and we could talk about when we were 15 years old. And FOX could show those pictures of when we were 15 years old together. So it makes a better connection. I feel like it’s engaging, and you can laugh about stuff before you have to jump into the hard questions. So that was cool.

“John Hunter Nemechek is very structured. Now I’ve realized being polished is a good thing to have good answers, but it also makes it tougher on the person asking questions sometimes. I was very polished, I feel like, in my answers a lot of times, and so just being able to pull that personality out when you have something relatable most people don’t know about, you can kind of dive into that.

“With John Hunter, I can talk about something at the shop that nobody else would know, or with Joey, those memories or whatever. So, I think having those connections is really good just for breaking the ice.”

Another fitting example is Chase Elliott. Bayne enjoys talking to the perennial Most Popular Driver about flying planes and subjects that don’t involve racing, but that isn’t what the fans want.

They have questions about Elliott and whether he will contend for the win each week, so Bayne has to find a balance. He has to address the prominent questions while also keeping the interview interesting for everyone involved.


Bayne’s Approach Also Changed in the Studio

Bayne’s approach had to change for certain drivers that he interviewed. It also had to change depending on which analysts were in the FOX Sports studio. Each brought something different to the table, so Bayne continued to make adjustments as he grew as he prepared for each show.

“I don’t know that I’ll ever feel like, ‘Alright, I know what I’m doing all the time,'” Bayne said. “But you do start to pick up things. Like Larry McReynolds, he’s gonna have every stat that you ever need to know. And so I need no stats for that show. I need to talk about other things. He’s gonna have stats.

“If I get in with Todd [Bodine], he’s not going to talk about stats. He’s going to talk about his relationships with the crew chiefs and who this person is, more the human stories. And so I do need to know some stats. But you kind of learn how to interact on that and what your style is.”

Bayne will continue to gain experience during the 2023 season as he continues to have a presence at FOX Sports. He doesn’t yet have his full schedule, but he has made it clear that he is willing and able to take on any role. He is ready to put in time in the booth, at the studio, or a mixture of both as he continues to embrace this learning experience.

 

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