WITH the recent success of the movie Fast the Furious, the people’s love of car racing is evident. However, unlike the movie where actor Vin Diesel races to get away from the law, 27-year-old Don Pastor passion for driving is very much legal. The first official Filipino-American driver in the Euro NASCAR, the European expansion of the popular US-based series. Don is speeding to his success in the international racing scene.
Born in East Los Angeles, it is no surprise that Don is into car racing. His father, Tomas Reyes Pastor, is the current promoter of NASCAR in the Philippines and the president of the Philippine Formula Autosports Foundation (PFAFI). Euro NASCAR has included an Asian leg in their 2014 race and with PFAFI and ESPN, the Philippines has been chosen to host for its first leg next year. His mother, Remedios, “Baby” Pastor is an interior designer/construction architect.
His eldest sister, Samatha Pastor Yalung was the 2001 Philippine Jet Ski champion. His other two sisters, Carmelita Bonita Pastor Muncal and Vanessa Pastor Ledesma are also both professionals and/or entrepreneurs. The youngest of six children, Don’s other brothers are also into car racing. Gian (Carlo) was the 2001 Philippine touring car champ and the owner of 1-800-Insurance, while Ferdinand or Enzo; is the First Filipino EURO NASCAR representative and COO of Circuit Showdown in the Philippines.
“It’s in the blood,” said Don, when asked how he got into car racing. His list of achievements and experiences clearly shows his dedication and passion. Aside from being the first Fil-Am driver in EURO NASCAR, he is also a Philippine Touring Champion (2005, 2007 and 2009), Driver of the Year (2009), the first Fil-Am Formula 1 junior scholar under the BMW program (2003) and also has his own racing school in the Philippines.
Don has been invited by NASCAR USA last May to test drive for the 2014 K&N season. The test is pending, according to him. “I am in the works with closing supporters and sponsors to fund this test,” said Don. Each major sponsorship costs $50,000 for the test, so he is tapping local companies here in California for support.
His message to aspiring car racers? “Race for a meaning, follow your passion and live it to the fullest,” he said and added, “Go beyond the limits.”
For now, Don gets his speed on by racing Global Time Attack and Redline Time Attack events in major race tracks both in Northern and Southern California. Just recently, he finished 1st place in the Modified Division and 1st in the Super Session. He has also received support from government officials and personalities such as California State Senator Leland Yee, Daly City Mayor Ray Buenaventura and Vice Mayor David Canepa.
He is also grateful for the continued support of the Filipinos and Fil-Am community. He proudly wears the Philippine flag patch on his racing uniform, and believes that his success is the success of all Filipinos. “We will shine, we will conquer,” he said and continued, “A small country we are, (but) with a huge heart we will dominate the world working together, supporting each other. We are one, Mabuhay ang Pilipino!”
*Many thanks to Aloha Moreno and John Christopher A. Marquez of First In Last Out Shooters.
(San Francisco June 28, 2013 SF Magazine pg.2)