Normally, the 24 Hours of Lemons doesn’t get too wrapped up in celebrity appearances. Sure, we’ve had drivers who have acted (in Sharknado, no less), TV news personalities, auto journalists, and plenty of professional racers. We treat them the same way as anyone else, but we were pretty amped in November 2018 when our tire partner Yokohama Tire brought along extreme athlete/racer Travis Pastrana and his Nitro Circus East crew. Sure, they did almost everything wrong—and got treated the same as any other poor-driving team—but they were good sports about it.
The driving crew of Pastrana, Trevor Pirahna, Lyn-Z Pastrana, and Streetbike Tommy seemed propped up by confidence and their Chevy El Camino. Yeah, it has a heck of a motor in it, but it turns out that winning a Lemons race is a lot harder than it looks. Generally speaking, nuggets of wisdom like “Try to run your fastest time” and “Blow the car up” don’t help much in endurance racing.
Crucially, the team had all of the classic Lemons racer smack-talking and excuse-making down pat. “I spun less than Travis in NASCAR career” and “It’s not my fault” come up regularly in the video.
Simply put, for all their successes elsewhere in racing and extreme sports, we’re not sure the Nitro Circus East team has the making of a Lemons winner. And frankly, we’re equally sure that they don’t care. They came to have fun with a big, stupid car and despite their (multiple failings), they did.
Crucially, they seem to have gathered that racking up black flags, driving aggressively, and chasing fastest laps don’t really get the job done. [Spoiler alert] Once you’ve hit about Hour 15 in a 24-hour race, all you want to do is get to the checkered flag. And it turns out that getting parked for penalties 20 minutes before the checkered flag spoils some of the fun.
Nevertheless, not only do we hear that Travis Pastrana and the Nitro Circus East team will return in 2019, we also have been told that Nitro Circus West are preparing a second car (not an El Camino) for West Coast races. And maybe—just maybe—the two teams might race each other heads-up later this year. Stay tuned and be sure to see what Yokohama and the Nitro Circus crews are up to in 2019.