X-citing news: Travis Pastrana coming to NASCAR!

Travis Pastrana goes stockcar racing (from Pastrana-Waltrip Racing's Facebook page).

At a time of sagging TV ratings and declining attendance at races, an exciting announcement involving one of the world's most popular athletes has the potential to reinvigorate NASCAR's fan base and attract younger fans to the sport.

International superstar Travis Pastrana announced Thursday he will race in NASCAR in 2011. The 16-time X Games gold medalist will make his debut in the Nationwide Series in 2011 as a driver and owner for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. Pastrana's plans are to run seven races next season, pending approval from NASCAR, and 20 races in 2012.

The team will field Toyotas from Michael Waltrip Racing, based in Cornelius, N.C.

"I've been following NASCAR closely for years as a fan of the sport with competing in the sport a lifelong dream," Pastrana said. "I decided it was time to try and turn that dream into reality and with the help of the Bechtel family, Michael Waltrip Racing and Wasserman media group I'm now one step closer!"

Pastrana's entry is huge for NASCAR and could provide a big boost at a time when the sport desperately needs it. As the star of MTV's "Nitro Circus" in addition to his athletic accomplishments, Pastrana appeals to the highly sought-after youth demographic. It's a great opportunity for NASCAR to reach out to the X Games crowd and broaden its fan base.

According to a press release, "Pastrana-Waltrip Racing will focus on creating programs that expose the action sports world's fans and participants to NASCAR and develop youth marketing initiatives designed to create greater awareness of both sports." 

In addition to a slew of X-Games medals, Pastrana has four consecutive rally car championships and multiple supercross and motorcross titles, as well as shattering jump records on both motorcycles and automobiles.

How will Pastrana do in NASCAR? He's incredibly talented on two and four wheels, but it'll be an adjustment learning the technical nature of stockcars. I'm also not sure if he has any experience racing on ovals before, so that in of itself could be a whole new world for Pastrana. Though the challenges are many, I have no doubt that Pastrana, known for his fearless nature, has the drive (literally) to take them on.

Best of luck to Pastrana and his new team. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he will bring to NASCAR starting next year.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
X-citing news: Travis Pastrana coming to NASCAR! X-citing news: Travis Pastrana coming to NASCAR! Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Friday, November 12, 2010 Rating: 5