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Behind the wheel with Travis Pastrana

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Action sports star Travis Pastrana's resume is a lengthy one.

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.

"Dad started out with a boat and a Harley, and ended up with two mortgages on the house and no boat and no Harley," Pastrana said. "Everything worked out well, though."

Pastrana was home-schooled through high school and attended classes at the University of Maryland, where his uncle, Alan, played football from 1965 to 1968.

Both parents will be at M&T Bank Stadium, along with a host of friends and family. Pastrana said he's had more than 100 ticket requests for the event.

But he said he's not feeling a lot of added pressure.

"The only different feeling will be that if I come up to a big jump I might not want to do, I have to, because [if not], all my friends will give me a hard time after."

xcxcbranch@baltsun.com

If you go

Monster Jam is Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. The show begins at 7:30. (There is also a "Party in the Pits" that runs from from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) Tickets can be purchased at the stadium box office or through Ticketmaster (410-547-7628 or ticketmaster.com). They start at $10 for kids and $25 for adults. Gold Circle tickets are $35 and Total Access passes are $75. (Total Access passes can only be purchased by calling 410-261-7283.)

By the numbers

Trucks competing: 16

Horsepower: 1,500-2,000

Weight: 10,000 pounds

Tires: 66 inches tall

2000: The year Monster Jam World Finals began

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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VehiclesTravis PastranaAuto RacingAdvance Auto Parts IncorporatedTicketmaster
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