Pastrana shifts gears, priorities
From the multi-sport extravaganza of last year's Pastranathon, we're down to Pastrana-one.
While Travis Pastrana's legendary Moto X skills are taking a backseat to his racing career, this won't be a Pastrana-less X Games Los Angeles thanks to RallyCross on Sunday. This will be just the second time since 1999 that Pastrana hasn't competed in an X Games Moto X event. He missed the entire 2002 X Games because of injury.
The 11-time X Games gold medalist [including nine in Moto X events] is not riding motorcycles so he can focus on his auto racing career, particularly in the NASCAR Nationwide Series but also the NASCAR K&N Series and Global RallyCross. Residual effects from shattering his right ankle during last year's Best Trick competition and a devotion to his racing teams and sponsors have taken priority over landing the 720 "TP Roll" or breaking new ground in freestyle motocross.
In an open letter to fans who were disappointed or angry he didn't travel to Australia to perform with Nitro Circus Live earlier this year, Pastrana apologized for letting anyone down but said, "No one has been hiding the fact that I am racing cars full time this summer."
Pastrana stated he would have loved to have been touring with his wife, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, on Nitro Circus, but he's made a commitment to his team and to his future.
"Nothing will compare to knowing that 14 people went jobless last year because I got hurt and wasn't able to race. Grown men with families to support, I let them down once and I will not do that again," Pastrana, 28, wrote.
Of course, racing cars has its own amount of risks to drivers. During the last chance qualifier race at the June 9 Global RallyCross event at Texas Motor Speedway, Pastrana oversteered on a corner and reportedly dislocated his left shoulder. Pastrana's representatives said no injuries were suffered, however, and he is ready to race in RallyCross at X Games where he looks to get better results out of his Dodge Dart. He finished 15th out of 18 drivers at Texas and was ninth in the season opener in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Injury or no injury, it didn't seem to slow down Pastrana in his last competitive race Saturday at the Langley K&N Series race in Hampton, Va., where he finished eighth. Of his nine K&N Series appearances, it was his second-best finish behind a fourth place in May in Iowa.
Besides honing his craft in stock cars, Pastrana got taste of what it's like to race an IndyCar while he was at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this month. He rode in the back seat of an Indy Racing Experience two-seater while racing legend Mario Andretti was at the controls.
"The whole time I was like, 'Oh no, oh no!' It was awesome, though," Pastrana told Indycar.com. "I actually didn't think it was going to be that exciting, but it was really cool. I would have loved to have been in the front seat. I tell you what, being in the back seat, he came around the corner and didn't lift, we're wide open and I was like, 'I hope it sticks and nothing that I can do or say right now would change the outcome of this at all.' So that part I don't like, but it was good."
After X Games Pastrana will have another busy racing day July 14 when he races in the Nationwide Series and Global RallyCross events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.