Travis Pastrana’s official NASCAR debut happens tonight at Richmond International Raceway. Pastrana, better known for dirt bike jumping, X Games competition, and free falling out the planes without a parachute, was supposed to start his NASCAR career last July but he shattered his ankle two days before the race on a bad dirt bike jump landing. His stated goal is to finish on the lead lap of the race this weekend. We’re not so sure that he’ll be doing that. In fact, we’re not so sure he’ll even be finishing. The learning curve for newbs in the sport is slightly steeper than Everest and whether they say it publicly or not there have to be more racers who are salivating at the chance of swallowing this guy whole than there are running up for autographs in the pits.
Pastrana has driven rally cars, monster trucks, the aforementioned X-Games dirt bikes, and a host of other stuff, but he has never been a door to door racer and his experience on ovals has been limited to the testing he’s completed in the car he will be racing tonight and many hours of X-Box. Meanwhile, he’ll be lining up against guys who have bled, fought, begged, borrowed, and stolen to get into the seats of the cars they will compete in at Richmond. Those are the guys who may make life miserable for Pastrana.
This was supposed to be Pastrana’s second season in the Nationwide series, but the destruction of his ankle last July put the kibosh on season 1.0. Instead of competing in the planned 20 races this year, sponsors have committed to seven races this year and perhaps more if his health will allow it. Pastrana is the most famous “mainstream” celebrity to get into a Nationwide car since Danica Patrick did it a couple of years ago. She got her ass handed to her pretty hard and has been racing on ovals for a long time.
For the first time since ever, we’ll be watching tonight. The entertainment value of this should be pretty high.
Let’s play a game! How many laps will Pastrana go before wadding up the car? Winning guess without going over gets a couple of BS decals!