Extreme sports star Travis Pastrana is set to finally make his NASCAR debut next weekend at Richmond, driving for RAB Racing in the Nationwide Series. Pastrana was originally supposed to begin his NASCAR career last July at the Lucas Oil Raceway inIndianapolis, but this was delayed by fractures to his right foot and ankle sustained in motocross accident, necessitating a lengthy recovery. Nevertheless, the 28 year-old believes this has worked to his advantage, leaving him better prepared for his debut.
“Yeah, it sucks that I got injured,” Pastrana said. “But honestly, I think I’m better off for it at this particular juncture. Were we rushed last year? No. I felt like we had a good plan. We were prepared and we were ready. Maybe not as ready as we are now, but we’ll never be fully ready to compete. So no matter what happens on race day, you always wish you had a little more time.”
“Even Mark Martin or anybody, when they say something, I just wasn’t understanding exactly what they were saying.”
“I think in the long run, I wouldn’t go as far as [to call the accident] beneficial. I’m sure I could have learned more out on the track than I could have from TV,” Pastrana said. “But it was definitely something that I think is going to help this season, and help my first race be better. I’m hoping that’s the case.”
Pastrana made his name in motocross, but has been competing in cars for a number of years, winning 11 X-Games gold medals on both two and four wheels, including famously defeating the late great Colin McRae in 2006. A winner of the Rally America National Championship four times between 2006 and 2009, Pastana made the world sit up and take notice with his star-turn in the 2006 Race of Champions, driving the USA single-handedly to the semi-finals after partner Jimmie Johnson was forced to withdraw. After learning the stock-car ropes with a few K&N East Series appearances last year, Pastrana made his endurance racing debut at this year's Daytona 24 Hour race, finishing 35th in the Ferrari 458 he shared with Michael Waltrip, who part-owns the no.99 Pastrana will race atRichmond.
Pastrana will go into next weekend with a conservative mindset, but with coaching from Camping World Truck Series front-runner Matt Crafton, is hoping to be on the pace soon.
“I just hope I don’t hit a wall, don’t hit anybody else, don’t make anybody upset, and hopefully we can end up on a lead lap,” he said.
Pastrana's deal comes at the expense of Kenny Wallace, who will give up his spot in a qualified car for the duration of Pastrana's 7-race stretch in the car. Today Wallace posted “everyone wants me to say something so here goes: 'it has become the normal for multiple drivers to share the same car'” on Twitter, and stated that he hopes to get at least a further 11 races with the RAB team, which currently sits 24th in Nationwide points. Wallace had attempted to qualify for the Daytona 500 with the team earlier this year, but was cruelly denied by fuel pump maladies in the Gatorade Duels.