Trevor Bayne celebrates after becoming the youngest driver in history to win the Daytona 500.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Overnight, Trevor Bayne has become a nationwide celebrity, but for kids young and old here at home, his win at Daytona holds a special place in their hearts.
We hit the NASCAR Speedpark to talk to the up and coming racing stars. It worked out well that most kids had President's Day off so they could get out on the track and pretend they were racing's newest sensation.
But seeing the 20-year-old Knoxville native win the "Superbowl of racing" means they may not have to pretend after all. It shows these kids their dreams can come true, too.
It's not Daytona, but for these kids, it's the same rush of adrenaline.
"It's the same way you're driving a car, a real car. Push the gas and steer."
Behind the wheel? Just over 54 inches tall, 9-year-old Chris Wieboldt.
"I'm a little bit advanced."
He's been to the NASCAR Speedpark several times, but this trip is special because he just watched Trevor Bayne, who's just 11 years older than him, win big.
"He's from Knoxville, Tennessee and he won the Daytona 500 and my birthday is 21 and his car is 21," says Wieboldt.
"When you have a child that's 10-15 years old and they know the winner of the Daytona 500 came from this area, and has been in this park, it's pretty exciting," says Mark Whitfield, General Manager of NASCAR Speedpark.
So exciting, fans can't wait to get their hands on his merchandise.
Problem is, "Right now we don't have any. Hardly anyone does and everyone is excited about getting his merchandise," says Whitfield.
Several NASCAR greats have signed this wall, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt. Even though Trevor Bayne has been here, he has yet to sign the wall...yet. It'll be one of the first things he does when he comes back.
"Him winning the Daytona 500 is kind of like an unknown actor starring in a movie and opening weekend becoming a sensation and that's exactly what happened to Trevor Bayne this weekend," says Whitfield.
And he's become a hometown hero to kids like Chris, who would challenge Trevor, on his Speedpark turf.
"You wanna race? I'll beat you!" says Wieboldt.
Bayne was at the Speedpark for a driver appearance when he first started in racing. While he was there, he signed autographs and drove some of the go karts.
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