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NASCAR driver to barista, Trevor Bayne trades pit row for coffee shop

Stock car driver Trevor Bayne has lived life behind the wheel since age 5. But these days, the East Tennessee native prefers caffeine to speed and brakes for coffee.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Trevor Bayne is used to running in circles.  But these days, it’s not speed, but caffeine that fuels the former NASCAR driver.

“That’s probably like everybody’s question,” said Trevor laughing. “What in the world are you doing?!”

“Trevor asked multiple times during racing, can we open a coffee shop. And, I’d say no way, we do not have time for a coffee shop," Ashton Bayne said.

Now, with racing in the rear view mirror, the coffee shop, Mahalo Coffee Roasters is open.

“My wife and I love Hawaii. Mahalo is the Hawaiian word for thank you.”

It’s Trevor and Ashton Bayne’s newest passion on in North Knox County.

“I know a lot of people in Tennessee are going to be like ma-ha-low, what is this?!?”

Racing the cup circuit, Trevor developed an affinity for coffee.

“I just kind of fell in love with the coffee industry.”

He had an espresso machine in his NASCAR motor home and even served drivers and crew.

“So, I was kind of getting some barista experience at the racetrack.”

WBIR caught up with Trevor in 2011 in Phoenix a week after he won the Daytona 500.


“I turned 20 the day before.”

A lot has changed in 8 years.

"When we won the 500 I was like hey, this is what’s going to happen every weekend, this is awesome. And I went through 6, 7 years of just struggle really.”

Trevor is grateful for the challenges and tremendous highs that outweighed the lows.  He married Ashton and took on a new title, dad.

“Your heads spinning and you feel like you can’t keep up when you’re chasing kids around. It’s as fast paced as a racetrack ever was for me,” Trevor said. “And, I just enjoy being around them so much and watching them grow and get to be a dad.”

In 2018, Trevor wasn’t a racing regular and began experiencing life off the fast-track.

“Keep in mind, that’s all I’ve known since I was 5 years old and we’ve seen a whole new side of life.”

At the end of the 2018, Trevor lost his ride with Rousch Racing.

“It was 9:30 at night and I found out in a press release,” said Trevor. “You want to go into tears at first and then you just remember the Lord didn’t bring us here to leave us.”

Trevor decided it was time to hit the brakes.

“I never said I’m retiring, I’m putting my flag in the ground and I’m done with this because I still love it.”

But Trevor says the door is closing every day especially with the new coffee business.

“Just like racing, you want to be the best, so you get the best equipment and you get the best people to teach you.”

His young family traveled to the best coffee roasters in the world.  And now, they’re pouring the international flavors here at home.

“We want to educate our customers on Ethiopian coffee verses a Mexican coffee or a Honduras coffee and the taste that you get in those,” Trevor said.

“I think this is our way to say thank you to our community and to Knoxville for supporting all the years of racing,” added Ashton.

Speaking of racing, any future drivers in Trevor’s young team?

“My wife hopes not! I can’t say that I don’t get excited when I see him on something with wheels.”

For now, Trevor will just sit back and enjoy the coffee.

Mahalo Coffee Roasters is located at 1317 E Emory Road in Knoxville.  It’s open from 630 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday thru Saturday.

Ashton Bayne will also sell fresh cut flower bouquets at the coffee shop. And, the couple will welcome their third child in September.