Las Vegas(Mar. 10, 2013) – Roush Fenway Racing’s (RFR) Travis Pastrana, matched his career-best finish of 10th, Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), overcoming a 31st starting position. The finish moved Pastrana up four spots to 11th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) points standings.
“I am just excited to have finished a race after last weekend,” Pastrana said. “We learned something even though practice was canceled (Friday). Last weekend we had a lot of practice, but we had no idea what we would have done for the race. I am really excited for the guys. I know there is a lot I need to work on for next weekend, but a top-10 finish here, I will definitely take it.”
Track activity for the Sam’s Town 300 was washed away on Friday, as heavy rain moved into the desert. As a result, qualifying was scratched on Saturday, in favor of an hour-long practice session. The field was set based on owner points, leaving Pastrana to start 31st.
The 200-lap, 300-mile race took the green flag around 1:30 p.m., with a competition caution scheduled for Lap 35. When the caution flag flew on the third lap, Pastrana radioed in from 25th that the car was very good. The race returned to green on the seventh lap, with the No. 60 Ford Mustang continuing its march toward the front.
On Lap 35, the caution flag waved for a scheduled competition caution. Pastrana made his way down pit road for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments as the car was too loose. The No. 60 continued to ride in the top-20, until the caution came out again on Lap 56.
This time, Pastrana remained on the track, advancing to 12th as other cars hit pit road. He remained in the top-15, with a fast, but loose Ford Mustang.
“I told him (Crew Chief Chad Norris) I wanted it to be free,” Pastrana said. “If we had gone with what I thought I wanted after practice, I probably would have crashed. It is awesome to rely on this Roush Fenway Racing Ford team.”
Norris called Pastrana down pit road under caution on Lap 84, allowing the crew to put on four tires, add fuel and adjust on the loose-handling condition. When the race returned to green, Pastrana fell one lap down during a long caution-free run, but received the free-pass as the result of a Lap 140 caution. As the free pass recipient, the No. 60 Ford
Mustang restarted at the tail end of the longest line in 14th.
Pastrana advanced his way to the front of the field, ultimately matching his best finish and collecting his second top-10 in three races.
Sam Hornish Jr. took the victory with Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers rounding out the top-three. RFR teammate, Trevor Bayne took fourth, while Elliott Sadler closed out the top-five.
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Saturday, March 16, 2013