On April 27 Travis Pastrana is headed to the Richmond International Speedway for his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut. After dominating motocross and rallying for years, Pastrana is now making the unbelievable transition into NASCAR. Travis has won numerous X Games Gold Medals and performed life-risking stunts on Nitro Circus, but presently the pressure is mounting as Travis revs up for his first prime time Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. The legendary motorsports competitor was the first to land a double backflip on a dirt bike, and even leapt from an airplane without a parachute. Now, the stakes for Travis are as high as they’ve ever been as he looks to command his spot amongst the best drivers in the world.
Complex recently spoke with Pastrana to discuss his upcoming Nationwide Series debut and transition into NASCAR. Here’s what the record-breaking athlete had to say.
Your transition from motocross to rallying was impressive, but now it’s NASCAR. Do you feel like your previous experiences have helped you prepare the new pressures that come with racing NASCAR?
Without a doubt, racing anything is beneficial. Knowing how everything works, being able to find lines. In motocross and rally, I had dirt to dirt. I knew how to read lines, I knew how to look for traction. But, I had to basically learn everything about cars. I’ve driven my whole life, raced Go-Carts, but this is something really new. I had to listen to the co-driver, and really trust him, and trust the team. I moved from just one mechanic (in motocross) to rally where we had three. With NASCAR, there’s probably like 40-50 guys that touch my car before I can even get in it. Just learning how to communicate and listen to the spotter and understand what he’s saying. We’re sort of starting from the bottom of the barrel, but I do think my other previous races are beneficial. Maybe not exactly comparable, but definitely beneficial.
You’ll be making your NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Richmond on April 27. After just a few K&N Pro Series starts, how are you feeling about your first Nationwide appearance?
“THIS IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THAT I’VE EVER TAKEN ON.”
We have our work cut out for us. It’s been exciting. By the end of the day, I can usually get up there and run lap times as fast as anybody. I know we can do this. It’s all about communication. We’ve got a great team with Michael Waltrip Racing working together with RAB Racing, my crew chief has been with us for the past year and a half, plus my cousin in the pit crew, so there’s been a lot of familiar faces. I’m in the Toyota #99 so my goal is to stay in the lead lap.