Travis Pastrana is turning into a NASCAR superstar, and has all the traits of successful Sprint Cup Series drivers. This is shocking. Despite following him his entire career, I was among many people who believed Pastrana’s NASCAR career would fizzle out, that it was only another gimmick and niche for the action sports superstar.
In all honesty, it may have been Pastrana’s upbringing that enabled him to transition so well to NASCAR. Long ago, Pastrana could have been the greatest-of-all-time at motocross, had he not left to become the most successful freestyle athlete of all time.
Competition, especially racing, never left Pastrana. But, while he was making a foray into rally, Ricky Carmichael was attempting to become the first prominent driver to transition from two wheels to four. Carmichael did not succeed for a multitude of reasons, but where Carmichael struggled, Pastrana has prospered.
The beginning of Pastrana’s career was not without controversy. The action-sports superstar was injured during a motorcycle stunt, delaying his Nationwide Series debut, a debut many thought he didn’t even deserve. Pastrana did not even record a top twenty in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition.
This year, with the guidance of championship owner Jack Roush, everything has changed. The equipment Pastrana has is elite. Despite not having much experience, Pastrana is remaining competitive on tracks never seen from him before. Most importantly for the 29 year old is the fact that he has completed a lot of laps, keeping his equipment together and surprisingly finding himself 13th in points, only having bad runs at Phoenix and Texas.
Besides those two bumps in the road, Pastrana’s race management and aggressiveness has been wonderful, including top ten finishes at Daytona and Richmond, two of the hardest tracks on the series tour.
Pastrana has earned a bevy on sponsors, some of which top teams salivate over. Red Bull, DC shoes, Boost mobile, all names that Pastrana can lure into a sponsorship package, if his career continues as it has. Currently, his car is blank, but it would be hard to believe a personality of his caliber wouldn’t garner attention. Roush-Fenway Racing should continue to support the still young driver. Despite initial thought when hearing he would be joining the NASCAR ranks, Travis Pastrana is here to stay.
Amicable, sponsor-friendly and soon to be family oriented, Travis Pastrana has calmed down from the action sports days of ten years ago. If he continues his rise through the ranks, anything is possible, even a future career in the Sprint Cup Series. If anybody has proven that, it’s Travis Pastrana.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486