Travis Pastrana will finally be making his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut.
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Pastrana was slated to make his series debut in 2011, but an injury sidelined him for the season. Now, Pastrana announced Friday, he’ll embark on his NASCAR career April 27 at Richmond International Raceway.
Pastrana, 28, is an 11-time X Games gold medalist. He will run seven Nationwide races this season and 11 in the K&N Pro Series. His K&N season opens March 17 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Two days before his expected July 30 debut in 2011, Pastrana broke his right ankle and foot while attempting a motorcycle trick at the X Games.
"Last year, definitely shot myself in the foot for sure and had a lot of sponsors and a lot of people relying on me to show up,” Pastrana said Friday at Daytona International Speedway in announcing his 2012 schedule. “Unfortunately, I shattered my ankle and my foot at the X Games. I will still be going back to the X Games for Rally Cross. . . . Really looking forward to being able to be at the racetrack as much as possible — be driving as much as possible, but we’ve been starting with Matt Crafton as the main driver coach for me.”
Pastrana said he’s been testing and getting ready for his debut and that his focus now is unquestionably on NASCAR. He will race under the Pastrana199 Racing banner in 2012. The team will have a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing supplying personnel and equipment. Boost Mobile will sponsor each of the seven Nationwide races while iRacing will serve as the primary sponsor in four K&N races.
“(I) just basically want to put it out there that NASCAR is definitely my future and definitely where I want to go,” Pastrana said. “Instead of waiting for the sponsors to come to us, we’re going to get out there and show them that we’re ready to go race. We’ll see what we can get for the rest of the season. Definitely big thanks to the Michael Waltrip Racing guys and everyone that’s trying to guide me in the best direction possible. This is going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time with the guys.”
Pastrana’s Nationwide schedule: Richmond International Raceway, April 27; Darlington Raceway, May 11; Charlotte Motor Speedway, May 26; New Hampshire Motor Speedway, July 14; Chicagoland Speedway, July 22; Indianapolis Motor Speedway, July 28; Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sept. 1.
While he understands what it takes to be a competitive and successful athlete, he knows there is much to learn about NASCAR.
And he’s willing to work hard to do just that — and to understand the nuances of his new sport.
"Motocross was all about aggression on two wheels,” he said. “Rally cars was
listening to the co-driver and having to understand that and very aggressive with all-wheel drive. Now there is a lot of roll speed. It’s completely different — not to say it’s a waiting game, but you’re trying to be right on that edge without going over that edge which is something that’s completely different.”