Travis Pastrana, driver of the No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, kicked off the weekend at Phoenix International Raceway by answering questions from the media about last week’s 10th-place finish at Daytona and on...
The new(ish) kid on the block answered a few questions about his Daytona experience and about baby news for he and his wife, popular skater Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins.
Travis Pastrana - No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR BABY NEWS AND LAST WEEK’S RUN AT DAYTONA? “It’s just really exciting. I got married about a year-and-a-half ago and having a kid is gonna be awesome, but, for now, I’m just focusing on the job at hand and going out and trying to drive some race cars. Daytona was awesome. We just really stuck to the plan. Unfortunately, most of my teammates kind of got caught in a pile-up with about five laps to go, so all of my buddies were gone and we were kind of a sitting duck at the end. Up until then it was a perfect race. A top-10 finish is exactly what we had hoped for, but coming into Phoenix, I wouldn’t say it’s the first real race of the season, but Daytona is a completely different ball game. I learned a lot. I’m excited about it, but this is where we’ll tell whose really got it for the season, so I’m excited about just being on the Roush Fenway team. I know we’ve got a great car, so I’m looking forward to it.”
We really didn’t know what to expect
YOU STUNNED PEOPLE WITH WHAT YOU DID AT DAYTONA FOR SOMEONE WHO HAD NEVER RUN A RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACE OR DRAFTED BEFORE. WHAT WAS THE PLAN AND DID YOU SURPRISE YOURSELF? “We really didn’t know what to expect. I knew we had a great car coming into the race. I mean, qualifying fourth and driving Daytona by yourself, as a driver, just about anyone could basically put that car about where the car is gonna finish based on speed, so I knew we had a great car. And with that, I knew a lot of people were gonna be willing to take the chance with the yellow stripe on the back and maybe help out a little bit. My big thing is I’m not in on qualifying, so my first two races are like, ‘Look, we’re gonna focus on qualifying. We’re not gonna try to qualify on the pole, but we’ve got to make sure you do a nice, conservative, but good run to get in.’ So we did all of our mock runs and test runs, and Trevor pushed me around a few laps, but the big thing was ‘let’s not mess up this car because we know it’s good.’ So when I went out there, starting fourth, we jumped right in there and I was getting pushed and pushing the guys in front of me. It was just a complete, wild cluster and we went into the first turn on the first lap and all of a sudden I turn in and it had always worked before, but in the pack the downforce was off the car, so I turned in and I was in the third row up on top and nothing happened. I missed the wall by about an inch at 200 miles an hour. I’m like, ‘Holy cow!’ So we dropped to the back like the team had told me. They said, ‘Just sit it out,’ and it was awesome because Tony Stewart was back there, Dillon was back there, and that was good, so we sat most of the race back there. I kind of gained confidence with those guys and really just started pushing a little bit and started to be pushed more, and those guys gained confidence with me. Unfortunately, with about 20 to go they said, ‘OK, follow that 43.’ And when Annett took off we went from somewhere around 30th to, I think we got up to third in like four laps and, all of a sudden, it’s lap 18 and I’m like, ‘Oh man, we got up too fast.’ Now we’re running three-wide and I don’t know what to do, and all hell broke loose like it always does and poor Michael, he went from the left of me to the right of me and gone before I had a chance to lift or move the steering wheel. The speeds there are so fast and once that happened, we didn’t have a lot of help because the 5 was pushing me and the 43 was following and I don’t know where Tony went, but I think it was to the front, obviously.”
ARE YOU GOING TO LET YOUR KID DO ALL THE STUFF YOU DO? “I definitely feel for my parents now with everything I’ve put them through, but we’ll encourage whatever we have – a boy or girl – to follow their passion. I’m hoping their passion is golf, maybe (laughter). But with what we have around us in the action sports community, the action sports family and even now getting into the racing family, it’s a tighter-knit community with more role models and more people that I would like my kid to look up to and to be a part of and to be influenced by, so I really do hope that they’re in this industry. Being in there is one thing because I know that it’s worth it. Every second is worth it, and I’m passionate about what I do and I love that passion, but I hope they’re passionate about whatever they do.”
BEFORE LAST WEEKEND YOUR ONLY DAYTONA EXPERIENCE WAS ON TWO WHEELS, RIGHT? “Actually, I did the Daytona 24 Hours, so that was good and gave me some pit practice, but I never did the full loop.”
BUT YOU DID BIKE WEEK STUFF THERE, CORRECT? “I got my first Supercross win at Daytona.”
THOUGHTS ON RUNNING HERE AT PIR? “This is my first run on this configuration. I ran K&N two years ago. I’ll definitely be learning. My biggest thing is coming from dirt with a Rally car background and motorcross, I usually do better with the tracks that are more worn out, so this being a newer track – especially last year – I was talking to all the other drivers and they said it’s a really slick course, so you need to kind of have that seat-of-the-pants feel, which I feel very good about driving cars and controlling stuff that’s sideways, but I’m still getting used to that, ‘yeah, OK, it’s about to break loose, but it’s not there yet’ kind of feeling and the pavement kind of driving, so I’d imagine this is gonna be one of my tougher tracks, but I definitely have more experience on short tracks, so we’re gonna go out there and my goal for the first three races especially is we’ve got to get our car qualified. We’re not in on qualifying, so let’s do the best we can. My goal is to be in the top 10. Whether that’s realistic or not I’m not sure, but if we’re running second on the last lap, I’m going for the win. We’re not happy until we win, but if we could get around a 10th-place finish here this weekend, we’ll be good.”
CONSIDERING THIS IS YOUR FIRST FULL SEASON IN NATIONWIDE IS THERE A TRACK YOU’RE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO ON THE SCHEDULE? “For me, my hometown track was always Dover. I’ve never gotten to drive anything around Dover and they say it’s like dropping into a rollercoaster every corner and jumping coming out. It doesn’t look like a jump when you’re watching, but if all the drivers say it, I’m looking forward to it.”