Fontana, Calif. (Mar. 23, 2013) – The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) headed back west this weekend for the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway. Travis Pastrana made his first NNS start at the two-mile track and earned his third top-15 finish of the season, crossing the line in 13th.
“It is just wild that you could really make the car do a lot of different things by how you positioned it and where you put the bumps and seams,” Pastrana said. “If it was a little bad and you hit the wrong one, then you were real bad, real fast. It is just frustrating to half see the front, but never really get there.”
Teams had only one practice session for the weekend on Friday, before qualifying on Saturday. The No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) Ford Mustang posted the 14th quickest time for the 150-lap, 300-mile race.
At the start of the race, Pastrana radioed to Crew Chief Chad Norris that the car was awesome. As the run progressed, the No. 60 Ford Mustang proceeded to get tighter and tighter. By the time the team hit pit road for the first stop of the day under caution on Lap 36, Pastrana was 15th. He visited pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
Pastrana remained in the top-15 until a round of green flag pit stops on Lap 80 dropped him to 20th. When the caution flag waved on Lap 93 for debris, the No. 60 crew took the opportunity to call Pastrana back down pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to help the tight race car.
On a Lap 111 caution, Pastrana made his final visit to pit road. The No. 60 crew added fuel only and completed a track bar adjustment, still working on the tight handling car. Pastrana exited the pits in 10th and eventually crossed the finish line 13th for the fifth race of the 2013 season.
“The crew did a good job and I had a great car,” Pastrana said. “I could see Trevor (Bayne) a few times and he ended up in front of us in ninth, so we definitely have something to learn from him. On restarts he would just pull away and I kept thinking that we had the same car, so what was he doing that I am not doing? We started leaning on the wall like Trevor was leaning on the wall and we had some fun. It was not exactly what we were trying to do but we got the laps and we got the finish and now we need to figure out the speed.”
Kyle Busch took the checkered flag for the third time this season, with Sam Hornish Jr., Regan Smith, Parker Kligerman and Austin Dillon rounding out the top-five. RFR teammate Trevor Bayne finished ninth. With the result, Pastrana remains 12th in the NNS points standings. In two weeks, the NNS will return to action at Texas Motor Speedway for the first night race of the season.
O’Reilly Auto Parts 300
1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, Texas
Friday, April 12, 2013