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Travis Pastrana, the high flying action star who nearly sabotaged his pending NASCAR career with a failed motorcycle jump in last year's X Games will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Richmond International Raceway on April 27. "I'm really serious about this," Pastrana admitted in the Daytona International Speedway media center, talking about his debut in the No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota.
The 11-time X Games gold medalist intends to race in at least seven Nationwide contests as well as 11 K&N Pro Series this year; he'll make his K&N debut at Bristol Motor Speedway, the series-opening race on March 17. For Pastrana, the wait to go racing has been "grueling. This is one of the toughest things I've ever done but we're ready to go now," he said. If he can secure further funding, Pastrana hopes to more than the seven Nationwide races currently on his docket. "If it were up to me we'd run every race after Richmond; I'm ready to get this thing going."
Pastrana intended to make his Nationwide debut at Lucas Oil Raceway outside Indianapolis last July 30, but two nights before the race he broke his right ankle and foot while attempting the "TP Roll" trick - a 720-degree roll, attempting to win the Best Trick Competition at the X Games. The subsequent injury and surgeries scotched his entire 2011 Nationwide schedule.
Before the accident, Pastrana raced in four K&N Series events plus the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in California, where he finished a credible sixth. Last month he raced a Ferrari 458 Italia for AF Corse Waltrip Racing in the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Pastrana, 28, will race under the Pastrana199 Racing banner for 2012 and will have a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing, with that team supplying personnel and equipment. Boost Mobile sponsors each of the seven Nationwide races, while iRacing is the primary sponsor for four K&N contests.
With multiple supercross and motocross championships, together with four Rally America titles under his belt, Pastrana is also known for his Nitro Circus empire, which includes a television show, live tours and a soon-to-be-released 3D feature film.
Remarking about his work in the Nationwide Series and the difference in driving these cars, as opposed to the Rally America machines he's been piloting Pastrana noted, "The harder I tried to drive, the worse my times were. My tires would fall off because I was slipping and sliding, so I really need to understand just how hard I can push it. It's been difficult switching from all-wheel-drive to rear-wheel-drive in the NASCAR cars, but I have to say I really enjoyed the rally cars and working with a teammate," he said.
Pastrana, who won his first world championship in the X-Games at the age of 14 is always looking for something that can challenge him. "Why go do something where you don't know if you'll succeed, coming from where you're a champion?" he questioned. "It's not about what other people think," Pastrana stated. "It's about challenging myself."
The driver's NASCAR Nationwide schedule includes Richmond, Darlington, Charlotte, the first New Hampshire race, Chicagoland, Indianapolis and Atlanta at this time. Pastrana's K&N schedule runs from Bristol in March to Rockingham in November.