Pastrana, Blaney set for Nationwide debuts at Richmond
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Travis Pastrana's long-awaited debut in the Nationwide Series is expected to take place in Friday night's race at Richmond International Raceway.
Pastrana, a worldwide action sports icon, will drive the No. 99 Toyota for RAB Racing. Last week, RAB formed an alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing, with the Robby Benton-owned No. 09 car becoming the 99.
Originally scheduled to make his first series start last July at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Pastrana suffered a broken right ankle and foot during an accident in the X-Games just days before the Indianapolis race. His injuries forced the delay of his Nationwide debut until this year.
Pastrana is scheduled to compete in at least seven Nationwide races this season. After Richmond, he is slated for Darlington (May 11), Charlotte (May 26), New Hampshire (July 14), Chicagoland (July 22), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 28) and Atlanta (September 1).
"I'm looking forward to getting in that car in the first race," Pastrana said. "After the first race, we'll know a lot more where we sit. We'll know where to improve on, and hopefully, we'll make up all the laps. My goal is to stay and be on that lead lap in the end. If we can do that and not crash, it would really set a lot of confidence for me going into the next round."
Pastrana has already competed in two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races this year. He is entered in Thursday's K&N event at Richmond.
Ryan Blaney is also expected to make his first Nationwide start this weekend. Blaney, the 18-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney, will be behind the wheel of the No. 36 Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing. His father is currently driving the No. 36 entry for TBR in the Sprint Cup Series.
"[Richmond] has always been a good track for Tommy Baldwin Racing," Ryan Blaney said. My dad has always run good there in past years, and I really like the place. I loved the place when we ran K&N there last year. I'm really excited to go back there in the K&N and make my first [Nationwide] start there."
In four starts in the K&N Pro Series East and West, Blaney has one win, which came last November at Phoenix, a second-place finish and two other top-10 runs. He is also competing in the K&N race at Richmond.
Steve Wallace will make his return to Nationwide at Richmond, driving the No. 4 Chevrolet. His father, Rusty Wallace, is listed as the car owner. Steve lost his ride in Nationwide after last season when Rusty Wallace Racing ceased operations.
Denny Hamlin is the defending race winner. Hamlin is one of seven Sprint Cup regulars competing in this event. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and J.J. Yeley are the others.
Harvick and Mark Martin share the record for most Nationwide wins at Richmond with five.
Forty-four teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, April 27. Race: Virginia 529 College Savings 250. Site: Richmond International Raceway. Track: 0.75-mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m. (et). Laps: 300. Miles: 187.5. 2011 Winner: Denny Hamlin. Television: ESPN 2. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.
04/26 14:09:15 ET