As Travis Pastrana nears his upcoming attempt at the Daytona 500, we asked him to reflect on his favorite racing machines he’s ever driven.
The Daytona 500, NASCAR’s highlight race of the year, is fast approaching and already bringing some big stories for this year’s running. Jimmie Johnson, one of the biggest names and most accomplished drivers in recent NASCAR history announced his return to the Cup Series with Daytona on the to-do list. Adding to the excitement for this year’s race, Travis Pastrana recently announced his entry to this legendary race, making this his first time back at Daytona in a stock car since 2013. The 23XI Racing team and sponsor Black Rifle Coffee just unveiled Travis’ #67 livery ahead of this weekend’s race. Travis reflected on the direction of this livery, “Plaid has been a big part of my life in everything since the (dirt bike) double back clip. Since the days of Evel Knievel, the Stars and Stripes have always represented the stunt community and I’m a very proud American. With sponsors Black Rifle Coffee Co and Dixxon flannels, we figured it would be fun to incorporate both. It looks like a plaid car on the straights and an American flag on the banks!”
As Pastrana moves to check off another racecar on his to-do list, we thought this would be a good time to hear him speak about some of his past favorites. With a career spanning motorcycles, rally cars, even monster trucks, Travis has piloted more racing machines than most of us will in a lifetime. So in our recent interview with him, we asked him to name his top five race cars he’s ever driven. It didn’t take long for us to veer off of just race cars, you’ll see what else comes up on the list. So here you have it, Travis Pastrana’s top five racing machines he’s ever driven.
5 125cc Shifter Kart
Travis started considering some of the bigger and more powerful race cars he’s driven, naming different stock cars and other V8 machines he’s driven. But then a light bulb switched on and he changed it up by specifying a shifter kart. If you’re wondering what some of the top level drivers are up to on the days that they’re not racing, or how they’re training in between their high-profile events, look to the kart track. Many pro racers get their start in go karts, and many return to the 125cc shifter kart to hone their skills. Karts at this level are far beyond backyard toys, as they are capable of outrunning most supercars to 60 MPH and can hit speeds over 100 MPH at some tracks. Given their capabilities in cornering forces, braking power, and acceleration, shifter karts are extremely fun and a helpful training tool due to their demanding nature.
4 Offshore Powerboat
“Oh you said race car? Well I’m gonna go with the Offshore Powerboat, 2,200 horsepower, and we won the world championship last year.” Travis’ racing career spans almost everything on wheels, but many don’t know that he recently spent some time on the water as well. Class 1 stands as the top class in powerboat racing, comprising these extremely powerful 10,000-pound boats that reach over 160 MPH. Controlling these boats requires a two-person crew, one driver and one throttleman. In his recent experience, Travis described it saying “I was just the driver, so I wasn’t even in charge of the throttle. I was just hanging on and trying not to flip us, it was great.”
3 World Finals Monster Truck
If you dig into Pastrana’s history, you’ll find that he once took a motorsports detour to drive a monster truck. Back in 2005, he created Pastrana 199, a Dodge and Ford monster truck owned by FELD Motorsports driven by multiple drivers from 2005 to 2009. At the end of this run, the truck took to a Nitro Circus theme this time with Pastrana behind the wheel. “This was the worst the worst handling vehicle I’ve ever driven. But I felt like a kid in a candy shop.”
2 Nitro Rallycross FC1-X
“This car is very different. I like it because it’s simple, everyone is really close, and it has more power. I’ve never driven a car before where you can’t put all the power down, it’s 1,000 horsepower and you get a 200 horsepower boost button. It’s wild.” This joint project between QEV Technologies and Olsbergs MSE kicked off the Group E class with the FC1-X in 2022. It’s excelled at helping lead the charge on electric vehicles in motorsports, using over 1,000 horsepower and more than 800 lb-ft of torque to make up for the lack of an internal combustion engine. With the help of AWD and instant torque delivery, this car reaches 60 MPH from a dead stop in just 1.4 seconds. If you haven’t seen this car in action yet, tune into Nitro Rallycross or better yet see them race in person.
1 1983 Subaru GL Wagon “Family Huckster”
This model would normally reside on a list of cars we didn’t expect to see pop up in a Gymkhana video. The factory model was far from fast, barely making 100 horsepower even in the turbocharged 1.8-liter variant. However, the “Family Huckster” version built by Vermont SportsCar took on some massive changes. They filled this GL wagon with a tube frame chassis and outfitted it with carbon fiber bodywork with active aero components. Although the car still housed a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Vermont SportsCar built and tuned this one to produce 862 horsepower. Travis told us “My number one isn’t even a race car because it’s so much smaller, it’s like a go cart with almost 900 horsepower and all-wheel drive.” He described the car being shaped “like a brick” but with downforce, making it fun but also difficult to drive. The aerodynamics improved the car’s braking and how well it stuck to the ground, but “start sliding and you’re completely unglued from the track.”
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