Action sports superstar Travis Pastrana finally made his long-awaited NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on Friday night, finishing 22nd at Richmond International Raceway.
A pit road speeding penalty thwarted his shot at a top-15 finish, but he ran a respectable race other than that.
Here's what Pastrana and those close to his racing efforts had to say about his first NASCAR start.
Travis Pastrana, driver:
I had three goals when I started. One was finish the race. Two was to finish on the lead lap. So I did the first goal and didn't do the second goal.
My third goal was – I bet Ross Cathy, my friend from Chick-fil-A – that I'd donate some money to charity...if Danica (finished higher). I knew that was a long-shot bet, but we were so close to her at the end.
I had to go through the pit twice (due to a speeding penalty). I got on the gas at the end when I thought
it was the end (of pit road). I was like, 'Yeah!' Then I got out and I was like, 'Ahh, it was the yellow line, not the white one.' I was so stewed – just getting antsy at the pit. That was my first green-flag pit though. It was pretty cool.
Matt Crafton, Pastrana's driving coach and Camping World Truck Series driver:
He's learning every time he comes out. It's just amazing what he learns. I mean, he should have finished 15th to 17th if he didn't have the pit road speeding penalty. This was his second time ever on a radial tire and his seventh time ever in a stock car. So his progress is really amazing to me.
I wouldn't be here wasting my Friday night if I didn't believe in the guy. I didn't know if he was going to be one of those guys just coming in to do it just because he could, but you're never going to find a guy more determined than this guy.
God, he wants it. He calls me and talks to me quite a bit about it, and what to expect and what to learn. That's what makes me want to help him that much more.
Robby Benton, RAB Racing team owner and Pastrana's spotter:
I think the biggest thing we needed to do tonight was compare him relative (to someone with more experience). This being his first race, he exceeded all my expectations. Once we could get into a run and he found a rhythm, he had lap times that were good enough to run solidly in the top 15. He ran the last 10 or 12 laps in front of Kasey Kahne, who finished 10th.
I think he learned a lot tonight. If we could come back tomorrow, push re-do and do it all over again, he'd be much better for it.
Lyn-Z Pastrana, Pastrana's wife:
(Pastrana's mullet) is growing on me, actually. I kind of like it. I'm going to Australia on tour (she's a professional skateboarder) for three weeks, so it has time to grow out while I'm gone. They all thought I would disapprove (of the idea), but when I approved, they were like, 'Oh, shoot. Now he really has to do it.'
I thought he did great (in the race). To me, the best thing he could do was to finish the race and get the first one over with and just learn from it.
If you only saw the group of 40 (friends) in the stands. A bunch of the Maryland friends came out in a Red Bull party bus, and they were in the stands looking very much like Travis with the mullets.
But there are some (friends) like, 'What are you doing in NASCAR? Aren't you bored?' I thought I would be, but after the first race in Irwindale...I got way more into it.