Pastrana: I don't like 'follow the leader'

Michael Whelan

Travis Pastrana hopes this is a view other rallycross drivers will be accustomed to at X Games Foz and as many GRC races as he is able to compete in.

Earlier this week, 11-time X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana discussed his plans to race in as many X Games RallyCross and Global Rallycross Championship rounds as possible and revealed a new technical partnership with Dirtfish Rally School.

Here's Part 2 of the interview in which Pastrana discusses GRC, NASCAR, being an expectant parent and the chances of seeing him back on a motorcycle anytime soon. Your team is still Dodge in GRC, but you are in a Ford in NASCAR. How does that work?
It's a really difficult thing for me as someone that … well, hell I started riding Suzuki when I was 7 years old and I still ride Suzuki. I try to keep the sponsors that I have because I like the product and I believe in it. What was interesting was that coming from Subaru, those guys were great, but I couldn't go into NASCAR with them. We were just starting to get into NASCAR and ended up signing the Dodge deal and Dodge ended up winning the NASCAR championship last year and we kind of tried to position ourselves into what the best possible thing would be. Then Dodge pulled out of NASCAR this past year.

So right now I believe that we have got a really great rally program. That Dodge Dart, for a new car, first year out, to get a win in was something that no one expected. Yeah, OK, it was the only race we finished [laughs] -- DNF'd four rounds and won the fifth -- but it proved that the car can do it.

This year, we have made a lot of improvements and definitely have a car that I feel is the class of the field. It's a little bit bigger than the other cars, and, on the first couple of rounds on those NASCAR tracks, we struggled because it is a bigger car. When we get some jumps and we get some sand, you know those [Ford] Fiestas are like go-karts and we can really make up some ground.

Michael Whelan

Travis Pastrana takes a break from testing his Dodge Dart rallycross car at the Dirtfish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Wash.

So, depending on the course, we could have -- at any given track -- the best car on the track, and I think it's pretty cool for me to have something a little different than what everyone else has. We started this and we got a win, but I think that the Dodge Dart has a good platform and I am not going to bail out on it in the first year.

I hate to jump around and switch sponsors, and if I jump on something, then I believe in it. Roush-Fenway Ford, they've got the winningest Nationwide NASCAR team. I'm trying to put myself in with the best people, the people that can help the most and, yes, it's not the best position for me to be in, but I think we've got the best rally program and NASCAR program.

So what changes would you make in GRC if you had the chance?
For me, the format is awesome but the courses have not been great. It was tough because last year we tried to get that NASCAR audience involved in the sport and a lot more people were able to watch. And yes, SEMA [trade show in Las Vegas where the 2012 GRC finale took place], we got a lot of car enthusiasts there. The locations were awesome and I know I am in NASCAR now, but I'm a dirt guy, that's where I have always excelled.

Maybe that's me wanting to do better, saying I don't like the course because there is too much pavement [laughs], but when I am in my rally car, man, I want to be sideways. I want to be going through the dirt. I want to have opportunities to pass, and last year that was really difficult and qualifying meant so much. For me, I like to race and I don't like "follow the leader."

The course is so much fun by yourself, but, in that race that we did end up winning, it was probably the best race for passing; there were three corners on the track that were wide enough to make passes. The joker put you right in the mix, where it was longer instead of a shortcut, so you had to come through the rest of the guys and you had a lot more speed in that area. There was a lot more strategy involved and I really enjoyed that course, but I still think we could have a lot more dirt.

I would love to see it that if we are using a NASCAR track, let's use the infield, man, let's do it like Supercross does in Daytona and use that kind of stuff. It will come. It will get there. The competition is awesome and the cars are amazing and I think that the interest of the crowd was there, it's just that there has to be good racing and right now it's just that the fastest guy is going to get the holeshot and it's hard to chase him down.

Just getting out of the racing thing for now: Obviously the announcement of Mini Pastrana was a fairly big one.
Yeah! That affected [wife] Lyn-Z more than me. She had a plan for X Games that she was going to backflip -- and she had it in the foam pit -- motorcycle, snowboard, skateboard and bicycle. She was actually kind of happy and was actually like "All right, I'm pregnant. Now I don't have to do all this stuff to dirt! [laughs]"

The real question is -- having been to your house -- how do you baby-proof Chateau Pastrana?
[Laughs] I think they are going to live in a bubble -- boy or girl -- and not come out until they are 18! I guess they will be exposed -- and maybe "exposed" is not the right word -- but will be exposed to our lifestyle and our sports without a doubt. I will definitely encourage them to do whatever they want to do. I'm hoping for golf or tennis, but chances are they will probably be in action sports and if they are half as passionate about it as Lyn-Z or myself are, then I could ask for nothing better.

Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool

Travis Pastrana had a tough-luck season in GRC in 2012 but still managed a first-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

But you had a deck off your second-floor bedroom where you could just open a gate and jump into your pool!
Oh, yeah -- we have had 4-year-olds go off there and jump in before [laughs]. They make it! Seriously, we are probably just going to end up with foam everywhere that is a fall. If you can possibly not make whatever soft, we are just going to have to put pads everywhere.

You were talking in an interview recently about how you have been watching Maddo's [Robbie Maddison] "Air.Craft" and you have been watching "Gymkhana" and said that you wanted to come out and make the Travis version of something like that. The question is, would you do it on a bike or in a car?
Why not both? Why not have a monster truck in there, too? I mean -- just saying [laughs]. You've got to think that, with the sponsors and the resources we have and friends we have …

Everyone has done it pretty solo. I mean Ken [Block]'s done a pretty good job of getting [Rob] Dyrdek in there and I had a quick little cameo, but let's make the ultimate video! I would love to have someone chasing someone on a supermoto with a rally car maybe get one of the Hayden brothers to do something or Bostrom and with the Nitro guys to kind of start it out.

So it would basically be, and it's not 100 percent planned out yet, but me going through all these different worlds and just trying to get the best of everything. I means Ken's done "Gymkhana" and he shut down a city!

It's going to be very difficult on locations to compare with Ken and what he's done. But we are looking into everything and just seeing what we can do in a short video where you get to do a whole bunch of fun stuff.

I see those videos and I am like, "Man, I just want to do something rowdy, this is awesome!" They are getting so much media attention that it is worth it for sponsors to actually have a decent budget to have fun. It will be a challenge and I will definitely have to work around, umm, not being injured [laughs], but we will see what happens.

Which leads me to the question I get asked more than any other as I travel the world: Will we ever see Travis Pastrana back in freestyle motocross?
You know, I think I would come back more as what Danny Way has done. I've got so many ideas for ramps and for different stuff. I mean, you know, look at Paris [Rosen] and the double front flip. I've always worked on ramps to help rotate the backflip …

I worked with Red Bull on a special project we have and what makes things flip. Working with Frank Bayer and the Olympic ski guys and try to figure out flipping and twisting and all this stuff. It's kind of on the back burner, but my biggest goal for freestyle motocross is to work, especially with the X-Fighters at first and Red Bull, to open up the course design for innovation. Because right now, 2 seconds of airtime, it frankly isn't enough. You can get bigger, but it takes years to learn a new trick because the risk is so high. So why not go higher and why not go bigger? The landings? Let's make them steeper, so when you hit, you slide out.

When you look … you can definitely still take big slams, even on the Giganta Ramp, but most of the time the guys can get up and walk away and try it again. You have got to think: How many times did Tony Hawk crash before he landed the 900?

In motocross, you don't get crashes; you might get lucky on one or two, but that's it. My goal would be to make it bigger and safer, which are contradictory terms, but I would like to innovate the sport like Danny Way did with the Giganta Ramp.

Related Content