5 Minutes With... Travis Pastrana

Last Saturday in St. Louis, sometimes it was easy to forget there was a race about to happen with championship implications, as the entire stadium seemed to care about only one thing – the guy on the 199 Suzuki. Travis Pastrana brought his Nitro Circus crew to the Edward Jones Dome, and his pit area was a mob scene before and after the races. And in case you’re wondering, Travis Pastrana is still fast. We talked to him Saturday night as security tried to usher his throngs of followers out of the pits at the end of the night.

  • Yeah, Travis Pastrana is still fast.
  • The people never cheered for a guy who didn't make the main like they cheered for Pastrana Saturday night.
Racer X: It doesn’t look like you lost a whole lot as far as racing ability is concerned. It’s been three years since you raced Daytona, and more since before that.
Travis Pastrana: No, definitely. I was well off the pace from where I wanted to be, but I was amazed at how many... I mean, I was riding with Chad [Reed, in training for the race] and I was like, “All right, I’m going to be about two to three seconds off,” because I was about two and a half seconds off the lead, but there are a lot of guys that fill that spot! I was a second out of fourth and a second ahead of 27th, so I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I’m just super-disappointed with the outcome. The team, Suzuki and everybody, these guys keep backing me, and I’m so fortunate to have that, and the crowd’s awesome, but to not make the main was devastating. But I was just pumped that everyone was excited, and the LCQ would’ve been cool. I rode way too aggressively, but...

You turned into a bit of a battering ram out there...
I was, I was, but I had arm-pump already, and dog gone it, I wanted to make the main event! I mean, the arm-pump hadn’t settled down yet from the heat race, and in that race I was just cruising around. I just wanted to stay in the top nine, but I should’ve just gone for it in the heat race. What the hell? Oh well...

Some of the guys in the LCQ got a little mad at you, too, because you were in there ramming them and whatnot, but that’s classic Travis Pastrana. You used to sort of ride like that back in the day...
Well, I was always aggressive, but I usually didn’t hit people – as much.

  • Pastrana came out during opening ceremonies and did a backflip off a berm.
  • Chad Reed (right) and James Stewart were thoroughly entertained by Pastrana and his antics.
  • The crowd around Pastrana's Nitro Circus rig was insane. Here, they mob Andy Bell.
Did you get like whiskey throttle and just run into them?
I had such bad arm-pump that I’d come to the inside of them and it was like, “Oh, man, this isn’t going to work at all, BANG.” But on the first lap [of the LCQ], the guy in front of me didn’t double, and I doubled and landed right on his tire with the radiator, and it ripped the radiator off, and that Suzuki made it six laps with no radiator! I was pretty impressed! I was looking down and saying, “Oh, man, this isn’t going to be good...”

So, you knew it was busted?
Yeah, my whole leg was soaked in hot... It sucked. Then I got into second, and it started overheating, and then it died.

You talked in the interview last week about not being able to run because your knee is so beat up, but I saw you running in your intro video...
I know, that actually hurt! It started swelling! I’m serious! [Laughs] I’m just disappointed for everyone that worked so hard. I mean, we only had three weeks, so it’s not like it was a huge effort, but everyone really supported me and backed me, with Cernic’s, Suzuki, Yoshimura, Showa sent Scott out – and he’s been an office guy now for a little bit. It just sucks not to make the main. That’s why I was riding so aggressively in the LCQ, and I hope someone enjoyed the show.

{LINKS}How crazy is this crowd, by the way? You go on TV for a little while, and all of a sudden...
Since the TV show started, honestly, I always walked in and out of fantasy world. I was so stoked to come here, and even as bad as I did, the crowd was really behind me and cheering, and the first lap around was like the wave out there. I was like, “This is practice! I feel kind of bad now. I’ve got to do better!” But now, I’m on airplanes, and I usually sleep on airplanes, and the second I wake up, I’m waking up to someone poking me in the shoulder, and there’s a line of 15 people... I’m like, “How many people watch MTV? I don’t get it!” But it’s been awesome. Now, all of my friends get to travel around, and instead of paying to do it, they’re actually getting paid – they’re not getting much, but they’re getting paid – to have fun and travel the world, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.