Despite winning a Class 1 world championship in offshore powerboat racing with the Huski Chocolate team and enjoying success in other motorsports, Travis Pastrana didn’t have the easiest 2022. And after much reflection on that year, earlier this week he released a statement on the Subaru Motorsports USA Twitter account in which he announced he would be taking a step back from some of his motorsports pursuits including offshore powerboat racing. The announcement created instant buzz in the offshore racing community of racers and fans.
Travis Pastrana, his daughters Abby and Bristol, and Steve Curtis took the stage after Huski Chocolate claimed top honors in the 2022 St. Petersburg Grand Prix. Photo courtesy/copyright David Lando.
Of course, there is more to the story—you can only pack so much information into a Tweet.
“I lost my team manager, Ron Meredith, in a dirt-bike accident and a friend and rival in Ken Block,” he said. “They weren’t doing anything out of the norm.”
“After seeing (Ken’s) family, I know tomorrow is not guaranteed,” he continued. “I’m just trying to figure out a way to be more present as a father and husband.”
In a phone conversation today with Speedonthewater.com from Daytona Beach, Fla., during Speed Weeks, Pastrana said he will still be part of offshore powerboat racing.
The Huski Chocolate team took first place in the 2022 UIM Class 1 Championship series. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“Nothing much changed on my end,” said the 49-year-old racer. “I’m not going to be the main driver (for the Huski Chocolate team). I won’t be able to do all of the rounds for sure, but (the team) wants me to be a part of the program as much as I can be.”
Last year, Pastrana, drove the team’s 47-foot Victory catamaran in a handful of races in Class 1 alongside throttleman Steve Curtis.
“Boat racing is something I do for fun,” Pastrana said.
He and his wife Lyndsey, who is a former world champion professional skateboarder, are raising their two daughters, Abby, 9, and Bristol, 8, both of whom are actively involved in competitive cheerleading. Pastrana is still involved in a variety of motorsports including attempting to qualify for the upcoming Daytona 500 in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for a team owned by Michael Jordan and fellow driver Denny Hamlin. He’s also racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
“(Denny) has always looked after me and we were talking and the team said, ‘If you’re going to do this, we’re going to give you the best tools we can to help you win.’” Pastrana explained. “Regardless of where I finish, hearing that for me was the selling point.”
Fans can root for Pastrana to qualify for the Daytona 500 and then Class 1 enthusiasts hope to get their first look at him in Huski Chocolate at Thunder on Cocoa Beach, Fla., on May 19. When Pastrana isn’t in the boat, multi-time world and national champion Brit Lilly will take the wheel alongside Curtis.
“I’m ready to be in the Class 1 boat,” said Lilly. “That’s where my focus is.”
From his perspective, Curtis said that he would be happy with Lilly or Pastrana joining him in the Class 1 boat. “They’re both brilliant drivers,” he noted.
Looking at the continued growth of Class 1, Curtis anticipates that nearly 10 boats will be competing this year so having a quality driver will make a difference.
“The driver is super important with the level we’re going to be at this year,” Curtis said. “It’s not the straightaways. It’s the corners. I feel very confident going into a corner very hard with a good driver.”
Curtis and Lilly (right) are veteran offshore racers who pair seamlessly in the cockpit of the team’s 47-foot Victory catamaran. Photo by Cole McGowan copyright Powerboat P1.
He explained that while Pastrana and Lilly may have different approaches behind the wheel, the goal is still the same.
“There is the fastest way around the course from a throttleman’s perspective and a driver’s perspective and it’s really about building confidence with that person,” Curtis said. “I let them run their line around the course and I can adapt to that. I react to the driver, especially in the corners. Travis and Brit are supremely good at giving me the same line lap after lap after lap.”
Curtis also said that as the numbers grow in Class 1, the team effort is going to consist of more than the in-cockpit teamwork. “It’s when the whole team comes together and you’ve got the right prop, the right balance, that lap is like winning the race,” he explained.
And when the team gets that right and is atop the podium at the end of the race, fans will see one of two smiling faces—either Pastrana’s or Lilly’s—alongside that of Curtis.
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