Travis Pastrana’s move into stock car racing hit a major milestone on Friday, as the action sports icon won the pole for tomorrow’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Pastrana’s speed of 176.500 mph in the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford was enough to knock Austin Dillon (176.162 mph) to the outside of the Aaron’s 312 front row. Adding to the intrigue for tomorrow’s race will be Danica Patrick, who will be on the outside of Row 2 alongside former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne.
But Friday belonged to Pastrana, who claimed the first pole of his career in his 17th NNS start and added another item to his lengthy list of accomplishments over the years.
“It sounds like a dream come true,” Pastrana said to NASCAR.com. “Bringing the guys to the line at the green flag at Talladega is awesome, so I’m definitely excited. I mean, this Roush Fenway team has worked so hard. Chad [Norris], my crew chief…He had a lot of confidence in myself and the car and it’s just awesome to be able to show the work these guys are putting together and I’m definitely really happy to be here.”
In addition to how Pastrana fares from the front, another storyline will be how the budding championship battle between former Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. and Regan Smith evolves tomorrow. Hornish, who leads Smith by one marker going into ‘Dega, will start sixth in the race, while Smith will go from 21st position.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.