CORNELIUS, N.C. — If you pick Darlington Raceway to run in just your second NASCAR Nationwide Series race it’s only natural you turn to someone who’s fared pretty well at the 1.366-mile South Carolina track.
That’s just what 11-time X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana did when sought a Darlington 101 lesson from the NASCAR legend and Hall of Fame member David Pearson during some down time at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in March.
Pearson, who owns 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins and 12 pole positions at Darlington Raceway, educated the 28-year-old rookie on how to master driving the track dubbed “Too Tough to Tame.” Pastrana made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut April 27th at Richmond International Raceway. He started 25th and finished 22nd.
On talking with David Pearson: “I really appreciate the time that Mr. Pearson spent with me at Greenville-Pickens. I’m still learning the sport of NASCAR so to get some great advice from a legend like Mr. Pearson was extremely beneficial for me. It really has been amazing to see the people willing to help me each week. I have received help from Jimmie Johnson, Matt Crafton and Ryan Truex just to name a few. It’s just amazing all these people are willing to help me when they have to race against me each week. In motocross you never told another competitor your secrets. It just wasn’t part of the culture.”
What do your fans think of your NASCAR move: “Completely mixed reactions from my fans. Yes, NASCAR is looking for the younger audience but NASCAR’s demographics are so much bigger than anything that we have in actions sports. A few weeks ago I was at a Subway and a guy came up and was like, ‘Hey, my son was always an action sports fan and I’ve always been trying to get him to watch NASCAR and now since you are racing we have something we can do together,’ which meant a lot to me. It’s not a matter of the younger fan not liking NASCAR. It’s a matter of the younger fan not understanding NASCAR.”
Pastrana will race under the RAB Racing banner during the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Scott Zipadelli will serve as Pastrana’s crew chief this Friday night at Darlington Raceway.
In eight NASCAR starts Pastrana has one top-10 and two top-15 finishes. He has a career-best finish of sixth at the Toyota All-Star Showdown in January 2011.
Pastrana’s Nitro Circus The Movie 3D is projected to be released this summer. There are plenty of NASCAR references in the movie. Pastrana199 Racing prepared the school bus that jumped more than 150 feet in the opening scenes.