Allen Lessels on Motor Sports: Pastrana eyes RallyCross
TRAVIS PASTRANA, star of extreme motor sports and NASCAR racer on the rise, and Trevor Bayne, the winner of the 2011 Daytona 500, held court at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Tuesday.
They discussed trying to move up in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings, flying cars and assorted other subjects on what was pretty much an all-work, no-play day at the speedway. Both drivers toil for Roush Fenway Racing.
Tuesday and Wednesday were all about the business of practicing and going fast and wringing every tenth of a second possible out of stock cars at NHMS.
The hot sun beat down on empty grandstands that two weeks from today will be packed full with some 100,000 race fans for the New Hampshire 300 for the first of two Sprint Cup races at the track this season.
There was none of the color and hoopla of a race weekend on this no-frills visit.Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards and Joey Logano and about a dozen drivers in all shared the track and tested and tried various setups with the goal of getting an edge when they return here in two weeks.
Their cars bore little resemblance to what they'll look like when they come back. Most, other than Danica Patrick's Go Daddy ride, were slate gray and carried only a number on the door. Even the haulers that brought them to the track were, for the most part, were unmarked.Most of the drivers stuck close to the garages and conferred with crew chiefs and engineers and other crew members and all of the above digested the information popping up on ever-present laptops.
Pastrana and Bayne, along with a few others, took quick breaks from all that.
Pastrana again plans to do double duty at NHMS.
He won the wild Global RallyCross event that made its debut at the track last July.
"I think it was definitely the best Global RallyCross course (on the series)," Pastrana said and then laughed. "I mean, it's the only one I won, so obviously I'm a little biased toward this course, but it had a lot of unique stuff. A lot of tabletops, a big over-under jump. We had a dirt section. We had the big first turn. It was pretty cool."
Pastrana plans to try and defend his win.
He said others from the NASCAR world might join him.
"There's a lot of talk on the team about guys who want to go out there and have some fun," Pastrana said. "Nothing's confirmed, so I cannot say anything."
"If we could get it hooked up, I'd love to drive it," he said.
Pastrana thinks the idea appeals to a lot of drivers.
"NASCAR's a lot of fun, for sure," he said. "But I think that anyone who drives anything is like, 'I want to fly. I want to jump a car on purpose and not be like, oh, oh, something's wrong.'"
The RallyCross event last year at NHMS was on Saturday night, after the Nationwide race, and caused some logistical issues because track workers had to set up and break down the course in a tight time frame.
This year, the RallyCross competition kicks off race weekend on Thursday night. Fans will need a ticket to get into the event, but the rest of the activities of FanFest that night, including a Sprint Cup hauler parade and concert, are free.
Bayne and Pastrana spent their two days at NHMS and on Friday were the Nationwide race at Kentucky Motor Speedway.
Bayne finished 12th and Pastrana 15th and they maintained their spots in the standings. Bayne is 10th and Pastrana 14th.
The American Canadian Tour continues its swing through New Hampshire with the next two races scheduled at Star Speedway in Epping next Saturday and White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock on July 13.
The White Mountain date is a rain makeup from last weekend. The makeup date was originally announced for August, but there were conflicts and it was rescheduled to the 13th.Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover leads the ACT standings through the first six races. Vermont's Jimmy Hebert is second and Hudson's Joey Polewarczyk of Hudson is third. Joey Pole has moved up with wins in the last two races.
Perennial contender and oft-time champion Brian Hoar of Vermont and his team elected to run only a partial schedule this year and he has missed the last two races. He plans to skip the two upcoming New Hampshire races as well and return for an event at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, Vt., on Aug. 20.
NASCAR's Whelen Southern Modified Series, off since April, resumes on Friday at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C.Andy Seuss, the Hampstead racer who relocated to North Carolina, is sixth in points. He finished eighth in the last race.
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