Pastrana locked into field for Nationwide debut

Travis Pastrana will have a guaranteed spot in the field for his Nationwide Series debut next week at Richmond. The extreme sports star will race a Toyota that will be fielded jointly between Michael Waltrip Racing and RAB Racing. Kenny Wallace has been the primary driver of RAB's No. 09 car – which will be changed to No. 99 for Pastrana.

Pastrana said being locked into the field takes some of the pressure of him at Richmond.

"The qualifying, running one fast lap, is something that I've been working really hard," he said Tuesday. "But the most difficult thing for me has been to get up to speed in the first couple laps. So this will be huge for me."

"I hadn't realized it until I got back," Pastrana said. "I think I understand more of the terminology. I understand more how to get feedback. I think in the long run, I wouldn't go as far. I'm sure I could have learned more out on the track than I could have from TV, but it was definitely something that I think is going to help this season and help my first race be better. I'm hoping that's the case."

Pastrana is also scheduled to race at Darlington and Charlotte in May. MWR also has New Hampshire, Chicago, Indianapolis and Atlanta on his tentative schedule.

[Editor's Note: Locked in? As in free ride? The Europeans must roll over in laughter. No wonder NASCAR produces so few good drivers. Their system of guaranteeing spots to drivers just diminishes the quality of talent in a NASCAR race on any given weekend. Can you imagine a NASCAR driver in an open wheel car? Can you say many seconds per lap slower? Hence why you will never see a NASCAR driver make it to F1 or as a regular IndyCar driver (Can't count Stewart and Montoya, they came from IndyCar, but both have packed on so many pounds in NASCAR they would be too slow today)]

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