White knuckles for Travis Pastrana

TALLADEGA, AL - MAY 03:  Travis Pastrana, driver of the #60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, poses with his pole award after qualifying firist for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

TALLADEGA, AL – MAY 03: Travis Pastrana, driver of the #60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, poses with his pole award after qualifying firist for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

TALLADEGA, Ala.– If you assumed that NASCAR racing was more easygoing to Travis Pastrana than some of the daredevil stunts he performs in the X-Games, you’d be wrong.

After winning the pole for Saturday’s Aarons 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Pastrana explained that there’s no lack of an adrenaline rush in NASCAR racing. The difference lies in how long it lasts.

“To be perfectly honest, I came from motocross, (which) was a lot shorter races, but still 35 minutes, and everybody says, ‘Well, you must be bored, or it’s just driving around,'” Pastrana told the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday after running 176.500 mph to win the first pole of his NNS career. “This is a little different when you’re by yourself for qualifying, but here, the whole time, You have a white-knuckle grip.

“I got tendonitis my first NASCAR race, because I was holding on so tight, and I got tendonitis in my elbow. I was white-knuckle gripping everything the whole time, so it feels like that intensity, only it goes on for two hours, and the cool thing about NASCAR is, when you get done, I can’t even talk… You run a heart rate of 140, and you’re just sitting there, so that’s just pure adrenaline for that whole time.”

Pastrana says his heart rate is likely to be higher than that on Saturday, even before he takes the green flag at the front of the field.

“When you have that much adrenaline, and you’re that nervous, especially since I’m still so new to this, my heart rate is going to be 150 just coming to the line, leading the pack to the green flag,” Pastrana said. “So I’m definitely excited, and its not hard to stay focused.”

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