On June 4, 2011, at a Nitro Circus Live show in Las Vegas, Travis Pastrana committed what he called his most daring stunt to date: He asked his then-girlfriend, skateboarder Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, to marry him. A year and a half later, Travis, 29, and Lyn-Z Pastrana, 23, have cooked up a stunt that makes that night look like child's play: They're going to become parents. In their first interview since announcing their news, Travis (who's currently with his NASCAR Nationwide Series race team in North Carolina) and Lyn-Z (who's at home in Carlsbad, Calif.) talked baby names, diaper changes and how their lives will change once they welcome a new little bundle of chaos into the world.
The world found out about little 199½ on Tuesday. When did you two find out?
Travis: We were in Mexico with Andy [Bell] and Jolene [Van Vugt] when Lyn-Z was like, "Um … I'm a little bit late." We kept joking, "Better late than pregnant!" But nope! It was a great New Year's surprise.
Lyn-Z: After Mexico, I flew to San Diego and he flew to North Carolina to do a press day announcing his partnership with Roush. I woke up early and couldn't wait to take the test, but I had to wait all day for him to be able to talk on the phone. I finally texted him a photo of the positive test, but it was an hour before he saw his phone.
Travis: It's scary, but I'm so happy.
Lyn-Z: It'll be such a joy to see this little being grow and develop. And then there will be this kid and it's walking and talking and learning to high-five and play sports. I'm so excited for it to be here. It's taking forever and it's only been 13 weeks.
Where does "having a baby" rank on the scale of scary things you've done in your life?
Travis: The scariest things I do are when they involve other people, when I have responsibility over someone else. I am a little responsible for Lyn-Z, but she can take care of herself. She has a good family. She will be a great mom. But it's a wild feeling thinking I will have responsibility over another human being.
How did you tell your friends and family?
Travis: I didn't do a very good job of keeping it a secret. I was so excited. I just threw it into conversation and tried to throw people off. We've been traveling so much that everything had to be over the phone.
Lyn-Z: I made my mom a little onesie that said, "Gramma's bundle of joy." Our friend Cam McCaul, who's a mountain biker on the Nitro tour, and his wife, Bonnie, made the cutest announcement when she got pregnant, so then I had to start thinking of ideas for ours.
How did your parents react?
Travis: My mom was ecstatic. My dad -- if you know my dad, this will not be a surprise -- I told him and he was like, "Well, Lyn-Z always thought she wanted a kid. So … about the football pool."
Lyn-Z: My mom was so excited. She cried. She's seen me love kids my whole life and be super maternal. When I was in kindergarten, during spring break, I would go to the school and help with the little kids. I was 5 helping with the 3-year-olds. I've loved kids since I was a kid.
What did your friends think?
Travis: So many of my friends' wives are pregnant, and a lot of the Nitro guys have kids now. Jimmie Johnson saw my tweet and called right up. He was so excited. He was like, "It's going to change your life." It's been amazing how many friends have called up genuinely excited for us.
Lyn-Z: I've been talking about having kids in the next few years for a while. A lot of friends had opinions and said we should wait. But then they were all really excited once we told them. I think all the boys in Maryland are thinking, "Great. There goes all our fun."
What do you think it will be like to raise a girl versus a boy?
Travis: At first, I was thinking, "It would be tough if it was a boy. He'd have so many expectations." And Lyn-Z looked at me and was like, "Um …?!" Right! There will be a lot of expectations either way! I'm hoping he or she takes up golf or tennis. A less high-speed sport.
Lyn-Z: It's going to be hard for our kid to skate or ride a dirt bike without expectations. I got to experience that first hand, skating with Riley Hawk. People were brutal. No matter how good he was, he was never good enough. And that's hard on a kid. It's not going to be named Travis Jr. or Lyn-Z. That would be the meanest thing possible to do to your child.
How has the thought of possibly raising a kid just like yourself changed how you think about your own parents?
Travis: Man, that's a scary thought. It was scary before, but … another me? I feel bad for my parents. But I want to expose my kid like my dad did. He supported me, but the second I didn't show interest in something, he was like, "Great! Don't do that jump." I'll be like that.
Lyn-Z: My mom and dad supported me in anything I wanted to do. I played soccer, swimming, diving, gymnastics, basketball, Girl Scouts. I didn't start skating until I was 12. I want to give our child the same opportunity and I hope they play traditional sports, and great if they want to ride a skateboard and BMX and moto.
So Travis will be the safety cop? What's Lyn-Z's role?
Travis: Lyn-Z will be the go-getter, getting them on bikes and boards early. I think that sounds scary. Lyn-Z is good at conventional sports, but I never learned how to throw. She'll be the coach of all the teams. I can pass down driving and motorcycles. Go to your mom to learn how to throw.
Lyn-Z: Travis wakes up sometimes and says, "I just had a dream of a crash reel of my life on dirt bikes. I don't want our kid to ride." Then he gets over it a few minutes later. It will be interesting to see what path they choose. We agree on a lot of things about how we'll raise our child, but the main thing is, whatever floats their boat. But yes, I'll be the soccer coach.
What else are you looking forward to teaching your kids? Wait. Kids? How many kids do you want?
Lyn-Z: We're both big on being respectful and truthful and we want our kids to be independent. We want to give them the opportunity to learn things on their own without forcing it. I was very self-sufficient. I was doing laundry at 6 and packing my own lunches for preschool. Instilling that in children is good. I don't want my kid going to college not knowing how to do laundry … Two kids would be great. Travis thinks if we have a girl first, we should stop. He's scared of having two girls.
Who's scared of changing diapers?
Travis: If my friends can do it, I can do it.
Lyn-Z: People always hand babies to Travis in autograph lines and he doesn't know how to hold their neck. He's always like, "I broke it! Take it back!" Everyone says it'll be different with your kid, but babies start crying before they get into his hands. He wants to take a class to learn how to change a diaper and hold a baby's neck. It's good he's planning to do that instead of waiting until the baby, as he puts it, is "sturdy."
Have you talked about names yet? Anything picked out?
Travis: Lyn-Z -- I mean, she spells her name with a dash -- she likes cool names. I want something simple, like Hank. An American name that's spelled normal. No dashes. Then again, I always said I wanted my middle name to be Safety. Like, "Safety is my middle name!" Mat Hoffman's son's iddle name is Danger, but Lyn-Z won't go for that. She asked me, "Who are your heroes?" We liked Henry Cooper, for Doug Henry and Guy Cooper, two of mine.
Lyn-Z: If it's a girl, her middle name will be Ruth after Travis' grandma Ruth Pastrana. If she has one one-hundredth of the awesomeness his grandma had, we'll be psyched. I think it's cool to name your kid after influential people in your life. Travis always looked up to Mat Hoffman, but his middle name is T and Travis doesn't like obscure, funky names. He deals with them all the time in autograph lines and sees kids get annoyed when no one spells their name right.
There's a theory in motorsports that having children slows drivers down. What do you think about that theory?
Travis: I think you have to take a certain amount of risk to live and that is something I want to pass down. There are definitely things I will probably take off the list of things I will be doing. But racing and going for the win and not being afraid to crash, that's not one of them.
Lyn-Z: I hope it will change Travis in that he will think about the stunts he does. But I don't know if it will change the way I approach the things I do. I'm already pretty calculated. I'm not going to huck myself off something for laughs.
What are some things on that "definitely/probably" list?
Travis: Anything where I'm thinking, "I wonder if this is going to work." If that is the thought process and the consequence is paralysis or death, then no. Shane McConkey was a big role model and someone who inspired me and inspired a whole generation. But for his daughter not to know such an inspirational guy is sad. That's the question for the moment. You can't quit living and being the person you are. That's not being a responsible parent, either.