- Marty Smith, NASCAR
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CORNELIUS, N.C. -- Travis Pastrana is headed to NASCAR, both as a driver and team owner, Pastrana-Waltrip Racing announced Thursday.
Pending NASCAR approval, the Moto X, X Games and American rally racing star plans to debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011 under the Pastrana-Waltrip Racing banner, meaning he will own and drive Toyota Camrys provided to him by Michael Waltrip Racing.
"I've been following NASCAR closely for years as a fan of the sport with competing in the sport a life-long dream," Pastrana said in a statement. "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!"
The car's number has not yet been determined. Waltrip owns the No. 99, and Pastrana's longtime racing number is 199.
Pastrana will compete in at least seven Nationwide races in 2011, plus the Toyota Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in NASCAR's Whelen All-American Series. Pastrana plans to increase his workload to at least 20 races in 2012.
Which event he will make his Nationwide debut in is yet to be determined, but sources said the hope is Phoenix International Raceway in February.
Before he can compete, Pastrana must go through NASCAR's approval process. NASCAR officials said Thursday that Pastrana is not yet approved for NASCAR competition. Basically, that means submitting a résumé to NASCAR, which then determines whether the driver is capable of NASCAR competition.
Subaru announced Wednesday it had ended its relationship with Pastrana, but that doesn't mean Pastrana's rally racing days are necessarily over. Sources said he hopes to race in the 2011 X Games in a Toyota rally car.
"Travis brought rally to a whole new audience through the rally championship and of course through his spectacular appearances at X Games," Tim Mahoney, CMO of Subaru of America, said in a press release. "We wholeheartedly thank him for his outstanding performances with Subaru Rally Team USA and wish him well in his future endeavors."
Red Bull, a longtime partner of Pastrana's in myriad racing exploits, will remain a personal sponsor but will not be the primary sponsor on his NASCAR machines.
Pastrana is an international icon, made famous by his daring on two wheels and charisma in front of the camera. In recent years he moved from two wheels to four, racing in the American Rally Car Championship.
Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage.