Travis Pastrana’s oval racing career started with a dirt sprint car
In 2000, Travis Pastrana was crowned the AMA Motocross 125cc Champion. The following year, he took the AMA Supercross 125cc Championship.
However, in 2003, two-wheeled racing had begun to take a toll on his body. He made a transition to rally racing.
Watch the video below.
Travis Pastrana discusses the move to stock car racing
“With age, get a cage,” Travis Pastrana explained to Graham Bensinger on his move to stock car racing.
“A lot of the top motocrosser’s [make the switch]. I mean, Jeff Ward, he got 2nd in the Indy 500 after winning supercross and motocross championships. Rick Johnson’s won the Baja 1000 in trophy trucks. Brian Deegan’s won some off-road truck races.”
It’s difficult, to just stop if your body’s too injured.
“If you’re really competitive and you love competition… You eat, breathe and sleep, racing. It’s difficult, to just stop if your body’s too injured.”
“To me, rally cars were what really seemed, the closest fit. I was really good at reading dirt, as far as knowing where the traction was.”
Travis Pastrana went on to win 4 championship’s in rally racing. Between 2006 and 2009, he won the Rally America Championship, 4 years straight. Travis wanted more.
“Where is the most competition? Where is the most competitive sport of earth?,” He asked himself.
“Frankly, it’s NASCAR,” Travis Pastrana had made the decision on his next goal.
“It’s because everybody is so close. Everybody is so good, all the cars are so even. If anyone gets ahead, they make a rule to make sure everyone stays even. It’s probably the most difficult sport in the world, to ever get an advantage on.”
“I’ve always had respect for anyone that makes it to the top, of any sport. For me, I always had a shirt that said, ‘boring’ in NASCAR print. I wore that to all the rally races.”
Dirt Sprint Car Racing
You can’t just jump into NASCAR. It starts in other areas. For Travis, his first attempt at oval racing came in a fire breathing dirt sprint car.
“Then, I had an opportunity. A guy got hurt. He actually broke his back, crashing a sprint car.”
Travis Pastrana filled in for the sprint car team. He qualified at the back on the pack. But, “This was cool.” Tony Stewart was at that race and ended up working with Travis.
At the conclusion of the race, “This is really cool. I never knew how much went into this stuff.”
From that point on, Travis Pastrana went on the search for a gig in NASCAR. He found that with the now defunct Michael Waltrip Racing.
“It took a solid 3 years of working with my agent,” Pastrana explains that was mainly do to the contract. “If I want to go base jump the hotel that I’m staying at that night. I don’t want to have my contract where it says, ‘I’m fired.’ ”
Travis Pastrana even work with Red Bull Racing on a NASCAR contract. They wanted to put limits on him. Even with how progressive that company is, they wouldn’t let Travis by Travis.
“When I tried to be the most serious I ever was… I was the worst that I ever was. It wasn’t me and it wasn’t how I do well.”
“With NASCAR, you have to make up time by being good. We’re going to try to get good.”
Travis Pastrana has run 42 NASCAR Xfinity Series races. In the 2013 season, he ran the full season. That year, he collected 4 top 10 finishes.
Most recently, Travis Pastrana has been running one off events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. On September 30th he ran the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He drove for Niece Motorsports in that race and finished 22nd. That was the first time Travis Pastrana has been seen in the NASCAR world since 2015.
Travis Pastrana is also an 11-time X-Games gold medalist. He’s also collected 4 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.