Travis Pastrana may be a beyond-well-decorated athlete when it comes to the X-Games and rally cross-type events, but when it comes to stock car racing, the superstar admits that he still has quite a bit to learn. But he is learning, and heading in the right direction.
Pastrana is racing for Roush Fenway Racing full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013. And if he’s serious about this whole NASCAR thing, which he seems to be, Roush Fenway Racing is definitely one of the best places to be. After all, the reigning two-time champion of the series, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., claimed both of his series titles in a RFR Ford.
When it comes to the learning curve, this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway — Saturday’s Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300 (I like to use that name whenever possible, becasue for whatever reason, I find it at least a little humorous) — should be one in which Pastrana is at his most comfortable so far in his young Nationwide Series career.
According to Pastrana, himself, his knowledge from the outside racing world relates best to NASCAR’s short tracks that it does the mile-and-a-half circuits and superspeedways.
“Coming from rally and motocross, there is a lot more I can relate to in a short course event,” Pastrana said. “Aerodynamics, side and bump drafting are all still foreign concepts, but racing head to head while sliding and bumping into each other is what I do best.”
While Pastrana feels like he’s more in the know on a short track, he did post a top-10 finish at the mile-and-a-half at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend. So he must be learning about all that aerodynamic stuff. Anyway, could a top-10 on a track type at which Pastrana still feels somewhat in the dark mean that an even better finish on a short track be coming soon? Like maybe this weekend at Bristol, perhaps?
Maybe, maybe not. After all, Pastrana acknowledged that he’s also familiar with the retaining wall at Bristol.
“Bristol looks identical on both sides, but I found the Turn 4 wall comes up a lot faster than the Turn 2 wall,” Pastrana said. “It took me most of the race to not scrape the side of the car coming out of four and equally as long to figure out the fastest line that allowed me to use the entire track coming out of two. Bristol is a race where the drivers have to get up on the wheel and work. I can’t wait!”