CORNELIUS, N.C. — Travis Pastrana returns to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Friday for a second time in his No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota. The driver, whose program is partly sponsored by KMC, is new to the series and says he's been amazed at the support he's been getting as he makes the tough career transition from motocross to NASCAR.
In preparation for the race, the 11-time X Games gold medalist has been working with NASCAR legend and Hall of Famer David Pearson.
"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," said Pastrana.
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 1.366-mile South Carolina 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. He said he's been awed at his welcome into the NASCAR community and is grateful for the support of big names in the sport including Jimmie Johnson, Matt Crafton and Ryan Truex.
"It’s just amazing all these people are willing to help me when they have to race against me each week," said Pastrana, who started his racing career on two wheels. "In motocross you never told another competitor your secrets. It just wasn’t part of the culture.”
Pastrana will race under the RAB Racing banner during the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Scott Zipadelli will serve as Pastrana’s crew chief 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. Coverage of the Darlington event airs on Friday on ESPN2 starting at 8:30 a.m. Full race coverage begins at 7 p.m.