Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 11/8/14

Travis Pastrana was supposed to make his first Nationwide Series start last July in the Kroger 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe ankle injury training for the X Games, forcing him to delay his NASCAR Nationwide debut until this season.

That long-awaited debut will finally take place next Friday night in Richmond.

On Tuesday, I was able to participate in the NASCAR teleconference with Travis Pastrana as he answered questions about the upcoming race and goals he'd like to accomplish, among many other things.

I had a chance to ask Pastrana how many races he had scheduled to run this season and what some of his short-term goals would be for the races he would run. He told me, "The schedule is still tentative, and only because you have to basically qualify through the NASCAR ranks. Still have to meet certain requirements in every stop to be able to run the bigger tracks. But definitely excited about starting at Richmond.

"My goals, honestly, are to finish every lap of the race. If we can be on the lead lap every race and try to qualify better. My qualifying is horrible. I cannot put in that when you have two laps to go out there and usually only one of them's going to be your better lap, depending on the tire temperature or car temperature or how the track is that day. So just being able to go out and put in that best lap, even though you haven't maybe driven all day long and you're not warmed up and you're just getting comfortable there. Goals for the season, finish, learn, and make improvements every race."

I also asked Pastrana if any of his past X Games or rally car experience could translate to success in NASCAR or if this was a whole new challenge for him.

Pastrana answered, "Yeah, for sure. I think anyone that's been at the top of any sport understands what it takes, and that is total passion and commitment. No matter what you think someone's doing, if they've made it to the top of their sport at one point, they eat, sleep, and breathe that sport. You have to only think about that sport, you have to only do that sport."

He continued, "For me, this is something that I know it. I've been there before, and I think I can follow those cookie crumbs back to the top. It's a completely different beast. All wheel drive cars, all about aggression. Motocross, all about aggression. Rear wheel drive car, there is a lot of roll speed. There is a lot of weight. You have to set the car right up on entrance. You can't overbrake it, you can't overslow it. You have to have it not so much that you're running off the tires. When you get to the gas, it's got to be all at once and just allow that car to shoot out of there and be a half tenth or tenth of a second quicker. So there are different techniques, but the same mindset. So I think we're coming to play, and it's going to be good. So it's good to have that back-up."

Pastrana then addressed a question about nerves and whether racing in front of his home fans this weekend would be an advantage. He said it would actually be more of a disadvantage to race near home, as there will be "100 friends and family members coming to see him race." He thinks that will actually be added pressure and doesn't want to screw up in front of them, because he "will never hear the end of it" if he screws up.

I don't think Pastrana will screw up, however. He has the knowledge of how to win and that's obvious from the success he's experienced in his prior endeavors. The learning curve is always steep for anyone who attempts to jump to NASCAR, but I think Pastrana has the right attitude and mentality coming into it.


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