Behind the wheel with Travis Pastrana
Annapolis native, who drives Nitro Circus, heads to M&T Bank Stadium for Monster Jam
Monster Jam comes to M&T Bank Stadium Saturday. (Handout photo, Handout photo / July 7, 2011)
He's raced and jumped his way in, out and around the X Games. He's back-flipped on a motorbike across two six-story buildings. He's set the record for fastest ascent of Mount Washington in a car. He's even jumped a rally car off the Pine Street Pier a record 269 feet onto a barge in Long Beach, Calif.
But Saturday's Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam will be special for the 27-year-old.
Pastrana, an Annapolis native, will be behind the wheel of a monster truck at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I'm pumped," Pastrana said. "I've always loved monster trucks, and to have an event come to Ravens stadium is awesome."
Pastrana will be racing in the Nitro Circus truck, named after a reality show based on Pastrana and his friends' stunts and adventures. He's also making a 3-D movie with the same name.
When you think of monster trucks, think of pickup trucks on steroids. Sixteen 10,000-pound, 2,000-horsepower trucks compete in two events at Monster Jam: side-by-side racing and freestyle. Side-by-side racing is traditional racing. In freestyle, riders romp over old cars and other props.
Monster Jam has competed at 1st Mariner Arena in the past, but this is the first year it will be held outdoors at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ken Hudgens, chief operating officer for Feld Motor Sports, said with Pastrana and the rest of the lineup, Saturday's event in Baltimore should be enough of a success to bring it back here in the future.
"This lines up to be really good for the city, good for us, good for the Ravens," Hudgens said. "We're all committed to make this [an] annual event."
Certainly, Pastrana is no stranger to the world of action sports. He's been racing motorcycles since he was a youth. At 16, he captured the MotoX Freestyle gold medal at the 1999 X Games. All told, he's won 10 gold and 14 other X-Games medals.
He's also competed in rally racing and is prepping for a career in NASCAR.
He's dabbled in Monster Jam since 2009. He finished fifth in freestyle at the 2009 Monster Jam World Finals.
Pastrana likened the truck to a "rocket ship" and called it "the most violent ride" he's ever experienced.
"I've never had whiplash in my life — through the motocross, rally cars, NASCAR, anything," Pastrana said. "I got out [of the monster truck] the first time, and I couldn't move for two weeks."
He said it's not like any other venture he's embarked on. But it was his first love.
"Monster trucks was the first sporting event I went to as a kid," Pastrana said. "For my fifth birthday, I went down to Kill Devil Hills, N.C., for a birthday present to see Grave Digger."
Pastrana grew up in Annapolis, the son of a construction worker and a flight attendant. Both his father, Robert, and mother, Debby, rode motorcycles.
The family would ride most weekends. It's what got Pastrana started on extreme sports. But the sport was an expensive one.