Trevor Bayne, taking nothing for granted, looks ahead to Coca-Cola 600

No one knows more than Trevor Bayne not to take anything for granted in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

That's why Bayne was so fired up to finish seventh in his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the latest Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"I'm just glad we're still here past midnight, racing and having fun," a smiling Bayne told FOX Sports shortly after the rain-delayed race ended as Saturday night turned into early Sunday morning.

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Bayne won the Daytona 500 in his second career Cup start in 2011 one day after his 20th birthday, becoming the youngest winner in the history of NASCAR's biggest race. That automatically guaranteed Bayne's entry into the Sprint All-Star Race the following May as one of the previous season's race winners.

But until last Saturday night, that was the only All-Star Race Bayne had ever qualified to compete in.

Bayne changed that Saturday when he pulled off a nifty three-wide pass and went on to win the first segment of the Sprint Showdown preliminary event at CMS. The winners of each of the three Showdown segments automatically transferred into the main All-Star event.

"I'm really proud of my team this weekend," Bayne said. "We won the first segment of the Showdown and got ready for the All-Star (Race). And we were a contender at the end."

That's when things turned a little crazy, leading to a spirited battle between Bayne and veteran Sprint Cup driver and former champion Kurt Busch over the final laps.

"Coming off Turn 2, I don't know what happened there but they all got stacked up in front of me. I went to the bottom and got by about six of them in one corner," Bayne said of what transpired shortly after the restart for the final 13-lap shootout segment of the All-Star Race. "Brad (Keselowski) was coming in a hurry behind me and had to move me out of the way, so we got loose and lost a few spots.

"One of those spots was to the 41 (of Busch). He kind of got into my left rear so I put it on his door, and then he got into my left rear (again) and I put it on his door (again). From there, we were going back and forth."

Busch ended up surging ahead to finish fifth. Bayne took it all in stride.

"You can get heated in those battles," he said. "But all in all, it's a race where you just try to win. You try to finish as well as you can, but it's not a points day."

That will come soon enough in this Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's longest race.

Bayne has made 102 Cup starts in points races since he won the 2011 Daytona 500. His only other top-five finish came when he finished fifth at Bristol earlier this season.

In his defense, this is only his second full-time season as a Cup driver. And it has gone well enough this season that he's currently a respectable 18th in points -- well within striking distance of the top 16 that make the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs.

"We'll try to learn from this for the 600," Bayne said of his Saturday All-Star effort. "I'm proud of the momentum our team is making.

"I mean, the way I see it all the best cars were out here (Saturday night) and we had a top-10 finish solidly. If we can do that every week, we'll be solidly making our way into the Chase and doing what we want to do, meeting our goals. It's just been a fun May race weeks here so far."