Travis Pastrana, driver of the #67 Black Rifle Coffee Toyota, (L) and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #84 Carvana Chevrolet, communicate on the grid for the duration of qualifying for the Daytona 500. (Getty Images)
DAYTONA Seaside, Fla. — Travis Pastrana has jumped out of a aircraft with out a parachute but under no circumstances driven NASCAR’s best Cup Sequence motor vehicle about 40 mph. He under no circumstances took the car for so substantially as a solitary spin on the superior-banked, superior-velocity track at Daytona Intercontinental Speedway. And even with a preceding dalliance with NASCAR, Pastrana had in no way just before attempted to qualify for the Daytona 500.
So as the action sports star uncovered himself standing on the grid, just a auto aside from excellent buddy and 7-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, it might have been a excellent time for Pastrana to ask for some past-minute pointers from the two-time Daytona 500 winner.
Johnson has just returned to NASCAR immediately after a two-year stint in the IndyCar Sequence and, like Pastrana, the getting old superstars were being not assured a place in Sunday’s period-opening spectacle.
But the duo skipped the compact speak about entry or exit or throttle or speed. Johnson’s two daughters ended up at a close by horse competitors Pastrana’s at a cheerleading camp. And that is what a pair of dads chatted about before just one of the most stress-packed times in the two their NASCAR lives.
Pastrana viewed Johnson, building pick starts this period, attempt his lap on the video clip board. It was a tough and bumpy journey with his new Legacy Motor Club group that alarmed Johnson, who just after two many years absent has no plan what the Future Gen car or truck is intended to experience like.
“You are a experienced male!” Pastrana gushed to Johnson following the session.
When it was Pastrana’s convert to qualify in a Toyota from 23XI Racing, his experience was considerably smoother and, like Johnson, rapid adequate for the duo to claim two of the 4 open places in the 40-driver Daytona 500 industry.
Just like that, a Daytona 500 champ and an X Online games champ will be racing for one particular of the largest prizes in NASCAR.
There were being 6 motorists vying for the spots, with Johnson and Pastrana earning the two awarded by time trials. The other 4 were set for a pair of Thursday night qualifying races that finalize the area.
“Sure, I want to acquire. I get in a car or truck, that is the typical point, that’s what I want to do,” Johnson reported. “But this is far more about the lengthy recreation. This is extra about staying a section of a growing race crew than it is truly about that intense aggressive side that I have always operated by.”
Pastrana, who at practically 40 experienced turned his notice to landing a Dayonta 500 slot, erupted in celebration immediately after his qualifying lap. He was approached by Kurt Busch, the previous Cup winner, Daytona 500 winner and present 23XI/Toyota mentor who was pressured to retire final year following suffering a concussion in July that is nonetheless not healed.
Busch offered a dose of actuality for Pastrana: “Kurt Busch came appropriate up to me at the finish and said, ‘OK, now we get to operate.'”
Pastrana’s definition of function could possibly not fit the common vernacular within NASCAR.
This is the similar hell raiser who has YouTube films with 1 million sights dedicated to his most gnarly crashes. So acquiring guiding the wheel of arguably the safest automobile in NASCAR record might not essentially supply the very same challenge of, say, a daredevil backflip into the Grand Canyon.
Pastrana, even though, was anticipated to gain all all those gold medals and make enthusiasts maintain their breath more than every terrifying trick. As opposed to the 47-yr-outdated Johnson, who thinks he can win Sunday, Pastrana is just happy to give the race a test. His workforce, staff co-owned by Michael Jordan, had the capacity to enter Pastrana and Toyota had a quick-enough engine to get him into his aspiration race.
“If I can get this car on the direct lap to the complete line, I never claimed that just before about nearly anything but profitable, but that will be a get,” Pastrana reported.
It could possibly be fitting if Pastrana can stick all around for the end and somehow look at Johnson win a third Daytona 500. Pastrana went on one of his very first dates with his wife at the NASCAR keep track of in Fontana, California, quite a few yrs ago to observe Johnson race. Pastrana reported he stored Johnson up late conversing about a single day making a operate at his possess NASCAR vocation.
He tried a NASCAR profession a ten years back and raced the total Xfinity Sequence schedule in 2013 for Roush Fenway Racing. Pastrana did finish 10th at Daytona in 2013 in the second-tier Xfinity race and — although the cars have evolved and he’s still a inventory automobile newbie — potentially it presents a tiny slice of prospective that possibly he could be competitive on Sunday.
That is, if he can just get to the finish.
“I explained to my wife, ‘Look, I want to shell out much more time house. I want to phase again a tiny little bit. But proper now this is the best opportunity I have, the ideal good results I have had in automobiles to set my ideal foot ahead,’” Pastrana claimed.
AP Auto Racing Author Jenna Fryer contributed to this story
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