RICHMOND, Va. –X-Games superstar Travis Pastrana made his belated Nationwide debut in Friday night’s race, and the driver of the No. 99 Toyota showed fans at Richmond that he was a quick study when it came to driving stock cars at the national level.
For much of the night, Pastrana stayed on the lead lap, running in the top 20, until a pit road speeding penalty on a green-flag stop late in the race dropped him to 22nd at the finish.
“The result wasn’t what we wanted, but to be perfectly honest, I felt pretty good out there,” Pastrana said after the race. “We weren’t a top-10 car, but for a while we were closing in on what could have been a top 15 before I messed up the pits.
“I felt really good. We passed (Brad) Keselowski at one point and I was like, ‘That’s awesome . . . ‘ To go around and keep moving forward there was really cool.”
Allmendinger, Shell/Pennzoil pay it forward
When AJ Allmendinger was a 16-year-old go-kart driver, IndyCar star Paul Tracy gave his career a boost. Now Allmendinger is doing the same thing for another young driver.
Allmendinger has inaugurated a karting scholarship that got a boost of its own when his Sprint Cup sponsor at Penske Racing, Shell/Pennzoil, opted to support the program. On Friday at Richmond, Allmendinger introduced 13-year-old Florida driver Kyle Kirkwood as the first recipient of the scholarship.
“Paul Tracy had a karting team when I was 16 or 17 years old, trying to figure out what I was going to do,” Allmendinger said. “At that point, it was amazing to me to have such a superstar in the CART Series wanting me to be a part of his race team.
“That was something that I took to heart and knew that it was something that, once I got to the right time in my life, I wanted to do the same thing. To me, karting is the most pure form of racing there is, whether you’re six, seven years old or on up through the ranks or somebody like me that’s still trying to relive my old glory days and still race go-karts.
“That’s something that was always important to me. That’s why I wanted to start the karting scholarship. I wanted to do this the last couple of years, and I felt like this was the right time.”