Pastrana shows promise in Nationwide debut

Travis Pastrana, driver of the #99 Boost Mobile Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on April 27, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Travis Pastrana, driver of the #99 Boost Mobile Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on April 27, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.