News & Media

NASCAR more than dalliance for busy Pastrana

July 28, 2011, Joe Menzer,

X Games star to honor commitment, has no perceived notions of instant success

With all that is going on in his life these days, Travis Pastrana thought, "What the heck? Why not throw in one more huge undertaking?"

So now he's getting married. In between competing in the X Games, trying to learn how to drive a stock car, making a 3-D movie and simply negotiating the everyday whirlwind that is being Travis Pastrana, he decided to pop the question to fellow X Games star Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins.

Nationwide RaceView

The Nationwide Series version of RaceView 4.0 will make its debut this weekend. You can follow all the action as Travis Pastrana makes his series debut in the Kroger 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway.

He did so earlier this year in true Pastrana fashion: off the cuff in Las Vegas, where they both were competing.

"I actually thought she was going to say no because here I am, she's in her skate gear, I'm in my moto[cross] gear and we're in Las Vegas," Pastrana said. "I thought, 'This is the least romantic thing I could possibly do.' But we had all our family and friends there and it just seemed like we were both ready."

She said yes and now they're planning October nuptials.

But before he can focus completely on that, there is this upcoming weekend. Pastrana is splitting his time between the X Games -- where he'll be attempting to win yet another gold medal in Best Trick, Freestyle Motocross (he has won a total of 16 medals, including 11 gold, in his X Games career) -- and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, where this Saturday he will make his debut driving the No. 99 Toyota in the Nationwide Series.

Pastrana has admittedly struggled at times in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he has run three races in an effort to prepare for this Saturday's Nationwide effort. After finishing a promising sixth in his K&N debut last January, he finished 25th in a Pro Series West race at Phoenix in February and was 22nd in a Pro Series East race at New Hampshire earlier this month.

"I'm learning a lot every weekend and every race," Pastrana said. "Unfortunately, there's a lot more to learn."

Pastrana entered into a three-year agreement with Michael Waltrip and formed Pastrana-Waltrip racing along with Gary and Blake Bechtel earlier this year. Despite his many other commitments, he said he recently reiterated to Waltrip that his long-term professional loyalty lies with giving NASCAR a fair and determined chance.

"Well, we have a three-year deal with Michael and Pastrana-Waltrip Racing and I really hope to continue it a long way past there," Pastrana said. "Michael [recently asked], 'If your results aren't good, is that going to discourage you from driving NASCAR?' And I was like, 'No, it's actually quite the opposite.'

"I love challenges and I moved here because I knew it was going to be a challenge. I've always done better on dirt and I've done better just not on pavement stuff. Definitely, this is the most competitive form of racing probably in the world, so I knew it was going to be a challenge. I knew it was going to be tough. That's why I came over here."

Pastrana said he is not foolish enough to expect instant success overnight.

"It's going to be a long road," he said. "It's probably going to be longer than I expected and not to say that we'll ever make it to the top, but I'm going to make sure that I've put every ounce of my effort into making sure that if I don't make it it's not because of lack of trying. I'm not [going to be] 60 years old going, 'I wish I would've given that another year. I wish I would've tried that more.'

"We've got a long road ahead of us, I know that, but I think we've got a great team, great sponsors, great support and hopefully enough skill to get there."

He said after this weekend's X Games, he's going to give all the motocross, supercross and American rally racing a rest. He said he's going to leave motorcycle and automobile jumping to "my other friends." Even though he did recently announce he's going to also give IndyCar racing a try -- he's going to attempt to win a $5 million bonus that has been offered to any driver from another series who can win the IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas -- he insists that as of next year he's giving up virtually everything else to focus on making progress in NASCAR.

"Michael [recently asked], 'If your results aren't good, is that going to discourage you from driving NASCAR?' And I was like, 'No, it's actually quite the opposite.'"


He also admitted he is nervous about making his Nationwide debut this weekend. But his goals, for now, are modest.

"This first year, I came in and I knew we weren't going to put in the time and dedication that it takes to really have a first year that really just blew everyone away. This is probably the most I've ever had on my plate, and that's saying a lot," Pastrana said. "I was hoping that we'd have some really good finishes [in the K&N Series] by now, but the bottom line is this is my learning year. ... We signed the contract knowing this year was going to be a tough one. We knew we weren't going to get all the time testing and everything else. But at the same time, I'm gaining valuable experience.

"I didn't want to waste this whole year. Now we can go into next year saying, 'OK, what is our starting point? What do we have to do and how can we make next year more successful? How can we keep making progress every race?' And if I learned something in every race, that's a gain for me."

Pastrana admitted he "thrives on the chaos" that essentially is his life. He also said that even though he's often "under-prepared and over-scheduled," he believes he frequently thrives in such situations when he's "kind of behind the eight ball." And just because he's getting married, don't expect him to slow down. His fiancé is no stranger to his crazy lifestyle.

"She's an X Games gold medalist in skateboard," he said. "She goes on the live tours with us and it's awesome because there are very few girls out there who understand the schedules and understand the stresses. I've been very tired and ornery lately and she's been awesome, just really understanding what it takes to get to the top of the sports that we've been to the top of.

"Maybe we should have just eloped in Las Vegas and been done with it. ... But I gave the ring and asked her the question. She said yes, so now pretty much the rest of planning the wedding is up to her."

Obviously, her husband-to-be is going to be a little busy in the months leading up to it -- and likely in the years beyond, as well.


Travis Pastrana's X Games/Nationwide weekend schedule (all times local)
FridayLos Angeles4-5 p.m.Freestyle Round One
  5:45-6:15 p.m.Freestyle Final Round
  9 p.m.Depart for Indy
SaturdayIndianapolis5 a.m.Arrive in Indianapolis
  9 a.m.NNS Rookie Meeting
  10:00-11:15 a.m.NNS Practice
  11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.NNS Final Practice
  4:35 p.m.NNS Qualifying
  7:30 p.m.NNS Race
  11 p.m.Depart for Los Angeles
SundayLos Angeles1 a.m.Arrive in Los Angeles
  10 a.m.-1 p.m.RallyCross Practice
  2-4 p.m.RallyCross Final

* Nationwide Chat Replay: Pastrana has a big weekend ahead