For years, motorsports enthusiasts watched in amazement at the crazy abilities of Travis Pastrana and wondered if he would ever take those talents and use them for something besides a circus side show. He entered this season in the NASCAR Nationwide series as a full-time driver and after just 12 races into his professional stock car career, he may be proving he's quickly figured out what it takes to be competitive.
In Las Vegas where Sam Hornish Jr. was the dominant victor in the Sam’s Town 300 (see related articles), Pastrana, who started 31st, work all the way up to finish in the Top 10 for the second time in three outings this year. The former motorcycle daredevil is establishing himself as a genuine competitor in NASCAR.
Began on a bike
Pastrana’s skills were first noticed in motocross as a teenage phenom, winning a national championship while only 16. However, it was the X Games that made Pastrana popular with his unmatched freestyle skills. He also tried rally cars and became an instant hit. He had his own television show called Nitro Circus that traveled all over the world performing amazing stunts but still, many in racing wondered if Pastrana’s undeniable abilities would ever see mainstream success. After dabbling in NASCAR’s regional Pro series last season, he drove part-time for RAB Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing in the Nationwide series but eventually signed with Roush Fenway Racing’s #60 Ford Mustang for the 2013 season.
Pastrana had one race in a Truck series event, which was last year and he finished 15th. He had nine Nationwide starts in 2012 but the best he could do was a 13th at Indianapolis. Coming into this year, there were questions as to whether he was up to the task of concentrating and putting his all into this one series; but, if the results in 2013 are any indication, as Pastrana settles in, he just might have a career in NASCAR.
Speaking of settled, Pastrana was married on October 29 in 2011 to Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, who is an accomplished X Games skateboarder from California. And last month, the two announced they were expecting their first baby this coming September (source: ESPN). He was asked in a USA Today interview if as parents they would persuade the child to be a zealous daredevil like themselves. Travis said he hopes their children “follow their passion. I'm hoping the passion is golf, maybe.”
Pastrana has taken on his new full-time role in NASCAR very seriously and in fact, has dropped all other sporting activities to concentrate on his job as a NASCAR driver.
His fans from the stunt and X Games side have been wondering why he decided to scrap what he loved, to become a stock car driver. Pastrana doesn’t hide on his blog why he made the move by stating on a recent post that he was “tired of being hurt”. And to those naysayers who argue that NASCAR is dull and uninteresting, Travis disputes this theory saying, “I fail to see how playing bumper cars at 200mph while drifting a 650hp vehicle is boring.”
Travis Pastrana continues to improve and is legitimately becoming a contender with signs of promise. And just maybe, that talent that everyone knew needed to be taken to the next level, is ready for a successful racing future in NASCAR.