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Conflicted Pastrana Cuts Schedule

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 17 2012

Driver Travis Pastrana, right, will stock car schedule. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Travis Pastrana had planned to run NASCAR’s entire K&N Series schedule this year, but said Saturday that won’t happen because of conflicts in the Global Rallycross events. He now will miss three K&N races.

“That was very disappointing, but at the same time I think we’ll be able to, hopefully, use those races because they’re at the NASCAR tracks,” said Pastrana, who made his NASCAR debut at Bristol in the K&N East Series opener. “Hopefully, you’ll be able to acquire more sponsorship, more fans and, hopefully, build both programs as much as we can.”

It was announced last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that Speedway Motorsports Inc. had formed a relationship with Global Rallycross. The partnership will bring rallycross events to NASCAR Sprint Cup and IZOD IndyCar race weekends at select venues throughout the 2012 season. The event at Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled for Coca-Cola 600 weekend.

SMI Chairman Bruton Smith is a self-described “frustrated builder.” However, the press conference he had at Bristol Motor Speedway covered possibly one of his more unusual ventures.

Smith wants to construct a replica of Germany’s Nurburgring track in Nevada and he wants the state to own it. There is no plan to use the track for racing. It’s simply for the manufacturers and for testing. Where would it be located? Smith says that’s up to the Bureau of Land Management.

“This is just something I want to do,” said Smith, who with Curtis Turner, built and opened Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960.

Smith said the idea was the result of a meeting he had a few years ago when he was approached by some German residents about such a project. He’s been thinking about it ever since and would like to see it to completion.

Jimmie Johnson has always enjoyed photography, but now that he’s a father it’s turned into a hobby.

“I’m trying to capture more pictures of my daughter,” Johnson said. “I’ve bought cameras over the years, but the stuff that I’ve posted on Instagram, it’s all through my iPhone and different apps that I’ve downloaded.”

Johnson said when he was a child, attending races with his father, he’d purchase “those little box cameras”.

“I was out there taking all these cool angles and photos and was really disappointed in the quality of my work after that,” Johnson continued. “I can go back to when I was seven or eight when I was first interested in it.

“I’d say what really queued-it-up was a Safari that I took in 2004 or ’05 and I bought all my equipment and took thousands of great photos.”

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 17 2012
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