Monday, January 31, 2011

Toyota All-Star Showdown: Results and Pastrana's Impressive Debut

Jason Bowles celebrates his NASCAR
Toyota All-Star Showdown victory on
Saturday night.
(Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
As we count down the final days to the Daytona 500, you may have missed a race that satisfied a bit of the urge for those of us who have the need for speed.

The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown took place Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway, and among the featured drivers we got to see the debut of motocross and supercross X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana. Pastrana raced alongside Toyota drivers from all forms of the NASCAR circuits, including the K&N Pro Series, Nationwide Series and Canadian Tire Series, to name a few. The race, which fields 40 cars, is 225 laps and is broken down into three segments. The first segment is 100 laps, followed by a 10-minute break, another 100 laps and 10-minute break, then a final shootout of 25 laps.

The race itself was crash-filled, with a total of 11 cautions and three red flags which found few drivers unscathed at the end of the evening. Auggie Vidovich (who we have seen in the Nationwide Series as a fill-in for Carl Edwards at times and currently drives in the K&N Pro Series West division) was the first caution after his car burst into blames. Sergio Pena and Darrell Wallace Jr., who are bright, young rising stars to keep your eye on, were taken out early with engine issues.

Halfway through the race, Derek Thorn led but was in a close battle with Andrew Myers. Pastrana was on the lead lap but back in 19th position at this point. With a five-second lead over the second-place car of Paulie Harraka, Andrew Myers pulled onto pit road with a flat tire, leaving Harraka to assume the lead. On lap 206, Harraka was still leading when he was hit by Thorn. Harraka and Thorn both suffered damage in the wreck and Thorn was also penalized for aggressive driving. Travis Pastrana was running in ninth as of this caution - keep in mind this is his stockcar debut.

Jason Bowles, the 2009 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion, restarted the race in first, but was closely challenged by Greg Pursley and on the final caution Pursley had the upper hand, restarting in first. Upon the restart, Pursley was off the pace due to a tire issue, and Bowles took the lead and never looked back. Bowles had a .320-second lead over the second-place car of DJ Kennington, who had attempted to dive under Bowles but was unsuccessful.

The winner of the 2011 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown was Jason Bowles. "This is the biggest win of my career," Bowles said.

Travis Pastrana, right, and business partner and NASCAR
Toyota All-Star Showdown Grand Marshal Michael Waltrip.
(Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
The race was exciting, but I have to admit the most exciting part for me was the debut of Travis Pastrana. We have witnessed other motorsports crossovers before, some successful, some not so much. Dario Franchitti, who is a great IRL driver, attempted NASCAR but with little success. If you have remotely heard of Travis Pastrana, you know he is an extreme sports icon, let alone gold medalist in the X Games, and you probably wonder how he is going to fare in NASCAR. Well, one race is not much to judge on, but I have high hopes for him. He finished in sixth place after starting in 20th and pretty much avoided all the accidents. The only damage on his 99 car at the end of the night was some right front fender damage, but considering all the cautions and crashes, that was an amazing feat.

Although pleased with his finish, Pastrana knows there is still a lot to learn, saying "I'm under no false pretense. We got lucky. I'm really excited just to be out there learning every lap."

Look for Pastrana to make his Nationwide debut on July 30 at Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly O'Reilly Raceway Park).

0 comments :

Post a Comment