Travis Pastrana practices for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529… (Drew Hallowell / Getty Images )
Action sports star Travis Pastrana finally is scheduled to make his debut in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series on Friday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
Pastrana, 28, originally planned to drive his first Nationwide race last July near Indianapolis. But three days before that race, he broke his right foot and ankle in a motorcycle crash at the X Games in Los Angeles.
"It's definitely been a really long time coming.... I'm really pumped," Pastrana told reporters in Richmond. Pastrana also is driving in NASCAR's lower-level K&N Pro Series East division to gain experience.
Denny Hamlin, a driver in NASCAR's elite Sprint Cup Series, said Pastrana was "a breath-of-fresh-air type of guy" for stock car racing. "He's outgoing. He's obviously not afraid to take chances."
But Pastrana acknowledged that helping NASCAR recruit more younger fans who enjoy the X Games and action sports could take time, and that he's been criticized by some of them for making the switch.
"What they don't understand is this is the most competitive, most intense form of racing that I've ever experienced," he said of NASCAR during a media teleconference last week. "My goal is to do well because it doesn't matter how big a fan base you have [beforehand]."
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