Travis Pastrana Details Upcoming Fuel Experience With Scott Palmer & Alex Laughlin – Drag Illustrated
“He’s been on my list for a while,” says world-renowned professional motorsport competitor, stuntman and 17-time X Games medalist Travis Pastrana, who intends to get his first taste of nitro methane behind the wheel of the Scott Palmer’s Top Fuel dragster next week following the conclusion of the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway.
Pastrana, 38, has participated in motorsports and races of all kinds his entire life, as well as every thrill-seeking adventure imaginable, including a near-fatal base jump from a Ft. Lauderdale skyscraper earlier this year (“I almost bled,” he says). Doing a pass in an 11,000 horsepower dragster, however, will admittedly be a completely new experience.
“I grew up about five minutes from Capitol Raceway,” Pastrana said. Illustrated Slide earlier this week. “Maryland International Raceway at Budds Creek is about an hour from Pastranaland, so I did a bit of drag racing, but nothing close to that. My dad has a ’69 Chevelle – an 11-second car – in which I did a few overtakes, and I cycled eight seconds, but I never went over 200 mph in the car.
The motocross racer turned NASCAR racer turned rally racer and event promoter (along with his beloved Nitro World Games) will likely go up to 200 when he stands on the throttle of Palmer’s fuel-powered dragster next Monday , but that’s not to say he enters the private test session with expectations beyond what he describes as the “Top Fuel experience.”
“I just want to get off the track and not die,” Pastrana laughs. “I ask Alex [Laughlin] questions like, ‘What should I not do?’ It’s not necessarily about me becoming a skilled drag racer or ultimately competing. It’s me starting to do something that I’ve always wanted to do, that I’ve dreamed of doing. I understand and respect the craft and don’t expect it to be understood and perfected on day one, but I want to be able to say I did it. That’s the point. To drive a Top Fuel dragster.
The aforementioned Alex – Alex Laughlin, who moved to Top Fuel last season after a drag racing career spent mostly in Pro Stock competition – was the driving force behind this whole event. He and Pastrana crossed paths while on a video shoot and when Pastrana mentioned to a mutual friend that he had always wanted to do a pass in a Top Fuel car, the friend knew Laughlin could probably make it happen.
“The next thing I know, Alex is calling me and asking me when I want to do it,” Pastrana explains. “We started talking about dates and, well, here we are. He’s going down.”
When asked if his daredevil antics and racing experience prepared him for a full test drive in a Top Fuel car, Pastrana wasn’t quite sure.
“I’m definitely comfortable in a race car,” he says. “But with all my racing experience…the speed is just different. On dirt bikes, you’re talking about 70 mph. I’ve raced in NASCAR, but, again, we’re just talking about a different animal I’m willing to give it a shot, although I’m not sure what to expect.
Pastrana appreciates the details – whether it’s the angle of a motorcycle ramp or entering a corner on a rally course – so he intends to draw on Scott’s experience and wisdom. Palmer and Alex Laughlin.
“I’ve never been sat in a, I’ve never been around a – nothing, so I’m going to ask a lot of questions and follow directions,” says Pastrana. “I’m not trying to master it or be perfect. For example, the perfect launch in a rally car might as well be rocket science, but just launching a rally car? Anyone could do it. Like I said, I think I’ll make sure I know what I shouldn’t do and how to stay out of trouble. I just want to go all the way.”