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Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The pressures of being Pastrana

By Colin Bane
XGames.com

Travis Pastrana had a parenting epiphany when he and wife Lyn-z Hawkins Pastrana brought daughter Addy Ruth home from the hospital two weeks ago. Fatherhood wasn't going to slow him down.

"Lyn-z needed a little break, Addy was a day and a half old and I had to go build a track for some of the Nitro Circus guys, so I just shrugged and took her with me," Pastrana said. 

For the next three hours, Pastrana and Addy rode around in an air-conditioned Bobcat tractor on the Nitro Circus track construction site. 

"I remember coming home from the hospital thinking, 'Wow, this is the most complicated thing I've ever had that didn't come with an owner's manual,'" says Pastrana. "But so far it's all working out pretty well."

It's a good thing that Pastrana multitasks, as life is as busy as ever around his household. In addition to taking turns with Lyn-z pushing a stroller around, Pastrana will pilot the No. 60 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing at the Kentucky 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, then jet off to the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina to meet up with the Dodge Dart team he owns, just in time to race Sunday afternoon at the eighth stop of the 2013 Global Rallycross Championship. He's also starting to promote his Nitro Circus Live tour, which launches a 19-stop European tour Nov. 3 in Moscow, in advance of the 14-stop 2014 North American tour opening in January, in Hamilton, Ontario.

"I actually do the best in the most chaotic situations," Pastrana said. "The more that I'm racing, the more that I'm doing, the more that I'm occupied, the more I can focus on everything that I do."

The transition from driving his Ford Mustang race car to the Dodge Dart rally car requires a mental adjustment to adapt to the different cars.

"The hard part is when your first lap has to be your fastest lap in order to qualify, so it's really important to get there for the training laps," he says, referencing a GRC mishap when he cut that transition too close. "Last year Charlotte was a disaster!"

As much as he loves having a full plate, Pastrana acknowledges that he hasn't yet had the NASCAR finishes -- including the win -- that he'd hoped to have by now. He also hasn't been able to devote the time to his Dodge Dart team necessary for it to be truly competitive on the GRC. 

Travis Pastrana

"Last year I really felt like we had possibly the best car [in GRC], especially on the jumps," he says. "This year they took out the jumps. The safety nuts are killing me! But we've really stepped up our program and have been doing a lot more testing, and my teammate Bryce Menzies and I are both looking forward to a big day in Charlotte."

Pastrana's own expectations are also higher than ever for the over-the-top Nitro Circus Live tour after the worldwide release of the "Nitro Circus 3D" film in 2012. He has stepped back his own stunts in the live show to protect his body for racing, taking on a ringmaster role instead. 

"We've got 40 of the best athletes in the world, and whatever expectation you may have about the Nitro Circus Live shows is going to be completely blown away," he says. The hyperbole starts to sound like modesty as he reels off some names. The tour features some of the X Games' biggest personalities and most decorated athletes, including skateboarder Bob Burnquist, BMX athletes Chad Kagy and Steve McCann and freestyle motocross stars Taka Higashino, Cam Sinclair, Josh Sheehan, Thomas Pagès, Blake "Bilko" Williams and Rob Adelberg. 

The more that I'm racing, the more that I'm doing, the more that I'm occupied, the more I can focus on everything that I do.

-- Travis Pastrana

Wife Lyn-z -- a three-time X Games Women's Skateboard Vert gold medalist -- will be skating in the show again, and one of Pastrana's personal favorites will also return: Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham, who has been landing double backflips on the MegaRamp in his wheelchair as he trains for the upcoming tours.

Pastrana brushes off suggestions that there will be pressure on his daughter to follow in her parents' action sports and racing industry footsteps. But he is looking forward to exposing her to the passionate crew of people he's surrounded himself with. 

"I can only pray that she finds something -- whether it's art or math or whatever -- that she's half as passionate about as some of what her mom and I have been able to experience," he says. 

Most of all, Pastrana is looking forward to the challenge of raising a strong young woman in the mold of the spitfire relatives for whom she was named. 

"Lyn-z's mom and grandma are both named Adrienne, so we went with Addy, and her middle name is Ruth after my grandma on my dad's side," he says. "She was probably the person I looked up to most in my life. She'd go country line dancing till 4 in the morning and then play bridge and poker all day. She was always getting into something and always had something going on. I learned a lot from that lady."