Richmond, Va. (April 27, 2013) – Travis Pastrana turned in a career-high ninth-place finish in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). In one of the strongest performances of his short NASCAR career, Pastrana battled back from 31st and a lap down, powering his No. 60 Ford Mustang to his third top-10 finish of the season.
The 250-lap race at RIR marked the first time this season that Pastrana visited a track that he had previously raced at in the NNS. His first career NNS start came at Richmond as did his first start with Roush Fenway Racing (RFR).
“The guys really didn't start with what we thought we had, but they really got this car working at the end and we were making some passes,” Pastrana said. “We got a top-10 finish and I'll take it.”
Race day started off with a two and a half hour practice session, in which the No. 60 team worked to get the RFR Ford Mustang dialed in for the second night race of the season. Later in the day, teams would make their way to the track for qualifying.
Pastrana and the No. 60 team rolled of 17th for the evening’s race. At the drop of the green flag, Pastrana settled into 19th. The first caution flag of the day waved on Lap 23, with the team making their first pit stop of the day for fuel and a wedge adjustment on Lap 36.
On the ensuing restart, the No. 60 Ford Mustang was too tight for Pastrana to maneuver through the field. He dropped all the way back to 31st. As the green flag run progressed, the handling of the car became more to Pastrana’s liking, as he methodically worked his way through the field.
The caution flag came out again on Lap 101, with the No. 60 Ford Mustang down one lap to the leaders, due to the long green flag run. Crew Chief Chad Norris called Pastrana back down pit road for the second time of the night, taking four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
The crew continued to work on the car, while Pastrana positioned himself in the free pass spot, as the first car one lap down. The No. 60 team ultimately received the free pass as the result of a Lap 190 caution, putting him back on the same lap as the leaders. He made his way down pit road for the final time, taking four fresh tires.
With a little over 50 laps to go, Pastrana continued his march to the front, battling hard with the top-15 drivers. The No. 60 Ford Mustang wound up crossing the finish line in ninth, besting Pastrana’s previous career-high finishes of 10th (Daytona and Las Vegas).
“We were getting bumped around like bumper cars out there,” Pastrana said. “I had so much fun. I like racing like that. I like when people are bumping me and I'm bumping people.”
Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag, while NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-three. Brian Vickers finished fourth, while Regan Smith finished fifth. RFR teammates Trevor Bayne and Ryan Reed finished 12th and 16th, respectively. Pastrana and the No. 60 RFR Ford Mustang moved up one spot to 13th in the NNS point standings.
2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway
Saturday, May 4
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