Jay Leno Got Extreme With Travis Pastrana

Jay Leno no longer hosts The Tonight Show, but he hasn’t stepped away from the camera. He hosts a show on YouTube that’s among the best, and Jay Leno knows a thing or two about cars as well.

Jay Leno’s Garage has covered various topics, reviews, comparisons, and more since its 2014 debut. He often encourages guests to bring out the comedy in situations and always maintains his enthusiasm for what’s being discussed, which is part of why his show is still streaming. His latest guest brought out a little fear in him, though.

Travis Pastrana appears on ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’

Leno has hosted several people on his show before, such as Nick Cannon — a fellow car enthusiast and comedian. Leno is no stranger to fun and fast cars, but he’s not necessarily a thrill-seeker. At least not in the way recent guest Travis Pastrana is. Pastrana is part of the Nitro Circus, and Leno caught up with him to chat about how it all goes down.

Pastrana puts himself in harm’s way for the fun of it. His high-flying action sports collective tours the world performing stunts no one else has ever done before. Or, as he says, “at least ones no one’s ever tried before.” Leno set out to find out what makes these adrenaline junkies tick, so meeting with the circus ringleader made sense. Pastrana and Leno had met before when Pastrana was only a teenager and had just turned pro, and the two enjoyed catching up. 

Who is Travis Pastrana?

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Pastrana is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to adventure. He’s driven for Subaru, winning several times, and has competed in other competitions in motocross, rally racing, and NASCAR. The action sports athlete developed a love for adventure at a young age and eventually broke his back at age 14.

According to Pastrana, the injury didn’t stop him from jumping back in, and he credits his parents for “allowing him to chase his dreams.” He had understanding parents, considering he’s also done death-defying stunts such as jumping out of a plane without a parachute. He’s also broken both ankles and both legs and disconnected his spine from his pelvis. Overall, he’s had 32 surgeries. 

What Travis Pastrana had to say

When they got together at a Nitro Circus event, Leno and Pastrana talked about what goes into putting on a show. Each show includes BMX, mountain bikes, skateboards, snowmobiles, and other action-packed thrills. Pastrana’s job is managing the safety of the course. He makes ramps larger and steeper so that riders have more time to do their tricks. Pastrana admits there’s always a risk of a show ending it all for someone, but that’s part of the thrill. Each time they reach a limit, they find a way to build a ramp higher and push the limits further. 

Pastrana shared that everyone always wants to know the tech behind the ramps. He said it’s simply about figuring out how to make the impossible possible. When Leno asked what kind of computers and math they use to make it possible, Pastrana laughed but then thoughtfully added, “Your mind is an amazing computer, and you can figure it out as you’re going. You can see a ramp as you’re coming up to it.” He said that with “years of experience, you kind of know what’s going to happen.”

Pastrana showed Leno around a snowmobile ramp and explained how the team added skids to create traction for snowmobiles. The rider can run the skids up the sides, which disappear first, leaving only the track. This gives the rider enough kick to complete a midair rotation with the 450-pound snowmobile. After they talked and it was time for the Nitro Circus to begin, Pastrana had Leno sit in a recliner at the top of one of the ramps while bikers performed tricks over his head for the audience. Leno clearly had fun with that one, saying it was “impressive to see it from that angle.”

Pastrana’s final words of wisdom

While Pastrana is the head guy at Nitro Circus, his wife skateboards in shows as well. They have two daughters, something he said has scared him a bit. When Leno asked about them doing what he does, he said, “There are so many things in the future that I’m scared of. I don’t worry about the girls wanting to do it because as long as they have passion for what they do, I think it’s all right.”