No. 99 Boost Mobile driver Travis Pastrana knew embarking on a NASCAR career would be tough. Not long after beginning a Nationwide and K&N schedule, he surrounded himself with people who could make his transition from X Games superstar and rally driver to NASCAR driver a bit easier.
That’s how he met Matt Crafton.
Since joining Pastrana at a January 2011 test at New Smyrna Speedway, the two-time Camping World Truck Series winner has served as Pastrana’s unofficial driver coach. Crafton calls on his 13 years of truck experience to teach Pastrana how to manage tires, pick driving lines, and hone some of the techniques needed for NASCAR success. Crafton’s even climbed in the No. 99 during practices to speed Pastrana’s development.
This weekend Pastrana will once again have Crafton on hand as he makes his first start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, is seventh NASCAR Nationwide series start on 2012.
PASTRANA ON CRAFTON: “Having Matt around has been awesome for testing and just getting to know the race tracks. It really helps when Matt can jump in the car and I can actually see where he is braking on the telemetry. He can also tell me turn by turn what the car is doing. He helps get the car set up a little quicker than I can. He is a constant reminder to me that I can’t over drive these cars. I have always manhandled everything I have ever driven and it doesn’t work in NASCAR. The more you try and manhandle them the slower you are going to go. Matt has been a tremendous help and I think he has helped my learning curve.”
MATT CRAFTON ON PASTRANA: “He really wants to be successful in NASCAR. He has a lot of talent; it’s all about breaking some bad habits. For example, in some of the rally stuff, drivers use ton of brake. That’s 100 percent the opposite you want to do in a stock car. You want to be smooth on the brake pedal. With all the telemetry, he can see exactly what I’m doing with the brake pedal and with the throttle. All it is, is speeding up his learning curve. Travis has a lot of talent and he has the drive to make it in this sport. I think if he can run a bunch of races in a row the results will come.”
· NATIONWIDE STATS: In six career Nationwide Series starts, Pastrana owns a career-best finish of 17th at Darlington Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway.
· K&N SERIES: In 11 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West starts, the Maryland native owns one top-five and three top-10 finishes. He grabbed a career-best finish of fourth on May 19th at Iowa Speedway in the K&N Pro Series East race.
· LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Pastrana’s Nitro Circus The Movie 3-D will be released August 10. The movie has plenty of NASCAR references. Pastrana199 Racing prepared the school bus that jumped more than 150 feet in the opening scenes.