Travis Pastrana is working his way back to the top.
The 10-time X Games gold medalist has already been there, but after injuries sustained in his years of racing in rally car and motocross, Pastrana has jumped to a new venue. He has traded the X Games for a stock car.
Pastrana currently finds himself racing his first full schedule in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, and there is no doubt, the two disciplines are very different.
“For X Games, it’s very intense for a very short period of time while NASCAR is very intense for a very long period of time,” Pastrana said. “Mentally, it’s a lot more challenging to be in NASCAR.”
When Pastrana was 4, he jumped on a dirt bike. That carried him to his X Games success. But always up for a challenge, Pastrana wanted to try competing at stock-car racing’s top levels.
“NASCAR is the most competitive sport in the world that I thought I had a chance at trying,” Pastrana said. “I’ve always been a huge fan.”
In his first full Nationwide season, Pastrana has placed as high as ninth at Richmond. Saturday’s DuPont Pioneer 250 at the Iowa Speedway will mark his 12th race of the season and just the 21st of his NASCAR career.
After reaching the pinnacle in everything else he’s tried, Pastrana is aiming to get back there on the racetrack.
“What’s this all about, it looks like they’re just turning left, how hard could it be?” Pastrana said he thought when he started. “Of course that was kind of a joke. We knew it would be difficult. These guys are amazing drivers, and I’m just trying to get up there.”