When it comes to an appetite for thrills and action, Travis Pastrana has an intense hunger for both. Famous for his daring moves in the realm of extreme motorsports, the internationally renowned icon is speeding toward his next challenge - NASCAR, which includes taking on Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day Weekend.
“For me it’s always about a challenge, and NASCAR is the most competitive motorsport in the world.” said Pastrana, who is racing the K&N NASCAR Series to help prepare for his entry into the NASCAR Nationwide Series later this year.
Pastrana is scheduled to run seven Nationwide races in 2012 for Pastrana 199 Racing, which will receive technical assistance from Michael Waltrip Racing. The final stop on his schedule will be the Nationwide Series night race on Sept. 1 at AMS.
With the race weekend already including Danica Patrick and the top drivers in NASCAR, Pastrana’s presence makes Labor Day Weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway all the more attractive.
“Atlanta was always one of my favorites to watch on television, because you could really see the cars going sideways. If you can see them going sideways on television, they’re really sideways in the car,” Pastrana said. “It’s a faster track, but still faster from what I’ve been running. It seems a little rough, a little sideways. I think the more sideways a car is, the more comfortable I am. As long as everyone else is sideways, I’m pretty excited. It should be a good one.”
As overall names in motorsports are concerned, few are bigger than Pastrana. He is an 11-time X-Games gold medalist and has more than 353,000 twitter followers, surpassing the following of many professional athletes.
After making a name for himself in the motorcross, supercross and rally car ranks, Pastrana is eager to make his way into NASCAR competition. That path is currently in the K&N Series, one which races on mostly short tracks less than a mile long and is filled with up-and-coming drivers such as Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace Jr. and former Atlanta Motor Speedway Thursday Thunder champion Max Gresham, who won last year’s series title.
“Everyday I want to wake up with a passion,” Pastrana said. “We had success in motorcross, freestyle and then in rally car. I just go for the most competition.
There’s no sport in the world more competitive than the sport of NASCAR.”
Immersing himself in the types of motorsports he has taken on has contributed to a laundry list of injuries. He was once quoted as saying, “I don’t remember most of the injuries, there have been too many.”
In addition, a documentary about Pastrana was filmed by ESPN in 2008 and titled “199 Lives: The Travis Pastrana Story.”
His medical records include:
He also broke his right ankle and foot a year ago during the X-Games while performing a stunt on a motorcycle, delaying his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut by a year.
For Pastrana, the transition to NASCAR continues. He is going from racing the lighter, all-wheel drive rally cars to stock cars with significantly more horsepower.
“The all-wheel drive from a rally car, you’ve got a light weight nimbly-bimly machine and then you go to a super, high-horsepower car, really heavy, more of a boat,” Pastrana said. “You’re just sliding around the corners and if you get on the gas at any point you can break the tires loose. It’s been a little more difficult for me just to get used to the rear-wheel drive.”
The margin for error is also a big factor. While in other forms of racing, a mistake can be made up quickly, it’s not as easy in NASCAR.
“If you’re two tenths off a second off, you’re way off the pace,” Pastrana said. “Whereas with the most of the things I have done, if you are two seconds off, you can make that up in a lap.”
But true to form, Pastrana is not shying away from the challenge.
“It’s a whole new sport, a new animal,” Pastrana said. “But I believe we can do it. We’re going to give it heck and see what happens.”