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Will Travis Pastrana have the patience to stay in NASCAR?

By admin | January 30, 2011

By Richard Allen


Travis Pastrana can flip motorcycles. He can jump a car from dry land onto a barge in a bay. And, he can skydive from airplanes with no parachute. On Saturday night in Irwindale, California the stunt man turned stock car racer made his NASCAR debut in the Toyota All-Star Challenge.

His run in the race on the half-mile Toyota Speedway was an impressive one. He was able to avoid most of the trouble on the track and came home with a solid 6th place finish. The daredevil who might have seemed the most likely to be involved in a crash actually proved adept at missing such incidents and patiently ran all of the 225 laps to achieve the goal of gaining as much experience as possible.

But the real question concerning Pastrana’s NASCAR career concerns patience. He certainly showed that he could employee that virtue in one race. But, can a person who has spent most of his adult life going from one major thrill to another stick with one thing long enough to master the myriad of nuances and skill sets required to reach the highest levels of the sport?

Granted, NASCAR and its teams have shown in recent years that mastery of those nuances and skill sets may not necessarily be a prerequisite for reaching one of the top three divisions of the sport. But it is required for having success once the driver has gotten to the top levels.

Take note that I am not questioning Pastrana’s talent for motorsports. Few people in the world could do the things he has done so I have little doubt that should he focus on this particular craft and remain in the this type of racing long enough there is a good chance he would be successful.

While this may sound crazy, NASCAR racing is not really a sport for daredevils. To back that statement up, do you consider Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon or Matt Kenseth daredevils?

NASCAR racing is a long grind of long grinds. The races are long and the seasons are longer. Is this something that can provide enough thrills for a person with a daredevil mentality?

With one race under his belt Pastrana has shown that there is material there to work with. And importantly, he is surrounded by very good people such as spotter Matt Crafton and the rest of the team put together by Michael Waltrip Racing and Gary Bechtel. But, this driver is far from ready to take on the competitors mentioned above. It will take years of honing his skills to reach that level.

Will Travis Pastrana have the patience to remain in NASCAR for the long haul and acquire all of those skills necessary to succeed or will this type of motorsports prove to be just another short-lived thrill ride on his way to the next stunt?

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2 Responses to “Will Travis Pastrana have the patience to stay in NASCAR?”

  1. mrclause Says:
    January 31st, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I really don’t get this. Pastrana has got more negativity and doubters even as he attempts this with his own team and money along with some decent plans to move up than I understand. Does he need to have some spread legged photos to get people to take him seriously? Danica was set to be the second coming and gave nothing. Danica demanded her cars be in the top 35 or whatever so she might not have the fear of not qualifying. She demanded top equipment. She couldn’t tell anyone what her car was doing or what she needed. Pastrana hasn’t asked for anything, he’s come to learn. Danica was supposed to be a golden gift to NASCAR. She took her money and accomplished nothing. Pastrana is willing to earn his way, even pay for it.

    If he does good he’ll bring his fans, where are Danicas fans? How about more stories/reports/articles that show fans more about those that are earning their way and yet getting little if anything. Praise the Pastrana’s, the Johanna Long’s, the Alli Owenses. These are the people that will bring NASCAR back if they are given the chance. The Danica’s are the flash in the pans, the ones that will hurt NASCAR.

  2. Kevin Says:
    February 1st, 2011 at 9:38 am


    It would appear to me that Rich is simply pointing out that Travis has attempted many different forms of Motorsport, and is giving Travis props for his skills and abilities. He is not questioning whether Travis has the skill set to be successful, simply suggesting, given the seeming inability to stick to one thing that maybe Travis is not committed to following his attempt at NASCAR all the way through.

    Instead of hating on Danica, perhaps it would be prudent to point out that Travis has been successful at nearly every type of motorsport that he has attempted. From my limited knowledge on the subject I would suggest that Travis’s attention span is limited to success. Once he conquers a form of motorsports he seems to move along to the next opportunity, having nothing left to prove. Good for Travis.

    As for Danica, I would love for you to provide the quote that stated ‘Danica is set to become the second coming’. ‘Danica demanded her cars be in the top 35′. ‘Danica demanded top equipment’ (I do remember an article that she stated should she come to NASCAR it would be with a top team - good for her, why try unless you give yourself a chance to be successful with top equipment). As for JRM keeping the car in the top 35, why wouldn’t they do that? If you’ve got a contract with an individual worth as much in exposure to your company as Danica is, wouldn’t you do everything you can to make sure you maximize it by guaranteeing her a spot in the race? Makes good business sense to me!
    That Danica wasn’t as successful as some may have hoped she would be, I did watch the Nationwide races in which she competed, and she showed fantastic improvement from when she first got in the car. She did have a top 20 finish at Homestead afterall, and would have had a top 15 finish at California if not for getting dumped by James Beuscher. Not bad for having less than 15 runs inside a stock car I’d say. I would be suprised if she were unable to attain a top ten finish by then end of this year, based on what she showed last year. Stop hating on Danica and give her some props for the talent she obviously posesses.