As Travis Pastrana walked into the media center at Darlington Raceway, reporters noticed something missing: His mullet.
The NASCAR-themed hair style he'd been growing out for some time and promised he wouldn't cut until he won his first race was no more. And he hadn't won a race, either.
So what's the deal?
As frequently happens in marriage, Pastrana was overruled by his better half.
"I was supposed to wait until I won something but my wife said, 'It's either divorce or cut hair,'" Pastrana said, adding his wife was "not optimistic" he'd win anytime soon.
Besides being fearful of sleeping on the couch, few things rattle the man who lives his life with a "no fear" attitude. When you've jumped off of cliffs and over buses, that's just the way it has to be.
But after taking his first laps around Darlington, the multi-time X Games champion and former motocross rider has a newfound respect for the track nicknamed "The Lady in Black."
"I've never been scared in NASCAR until today," Pastrana said. "It's definitely faster than it looks on TV. Most scared I've ever been in a vehicle – anything with a roll cage, for sure. You know what's coming up and it's still scary. ... Quite overwhelming."
But managing that fear and pushing yourself beyond your comfort level is something Pastrana is familiar with and something he plans on continuing to do as he furthers his NASCAR education.
"I can overcome fear as well as anyone else, but it's just a matter of trying to do it in a safe manner and in a way that we're going to be able to finish this race," Pastrana said. "That's the toughest part, not just saying, ‘I'm going to do this,' but 'I'm going to do this without taking anyone or myself out in the process.'"
A respectable 18th on the speed charts in the first session of practice bodes well for Pastrana in preparation for what will be just his second start in NASCAR's junior series. But despite this, he knows to keep his expectations in check in what will be his first race on a track of this size – and certainly the fastest he's ever driven on an oval.
"Honestly, 18th is way better than we had expected, but we're still farther off the times – the top five cars are still significantly quicker," Pastrana said. "We'll try to do the best we can. My goal is to stay on the lead lap. Whether that goal is obtainable or not, we'll have to see."