Travis Pastrana Leaving X Games Glory For NASCAR Future

For years, the name "Travis Pastrana" has been synonymous with "X Games success."

Winning gold medals in various events such as supercross, motocross, freestyle motocross and rally racing, Pastrana has been among the top athletes in the action sports world for years. 

Yet according to the 27-year-old, those days are over. 

After sustaining injuries in a dramatic wreck during this year's Best Trick event, Pastrana is ready to put the X Games life behind him and focus on his new passion – NASCAR. 

Slated to run a handful of Nationwide Series races this year and a full-time schedule in 2012, Pastrana's efforts were put on hold after the wreck led to surgeries on his broken foot and ankle.

A competitor at heart, he said sitting out the races has been disappointing, but also a learning experience. Making the most of the situation, Pastrana has been able to watch the Nationwide races closely, learning all he can about his competitors and their trends.

"I actually know a lot more about who runs up front, who runs aggressive, who doesn't, which drivers stay up there at the end, which drivers tend to qualify well," he said Sunday at Dover. "It's been a great learning experience, but I would have much rather (been) learning on the track, of course."

He will get that chance in 2012, as he plans to run 20 Nationwide Series events with sponsor Boost Mobile on board. While he has not been able to secure enough sponsorship to run the full season, he hopes to run as many races as possible, including some races in the NASCAR K&N Series. 

Right now, though, recovery and rehabilitation is the primary concern. 

Missing his first attempt at a Rodeo 720 trick, Pastrana went back for a second try. Wrecking yet again, it was the second attempt that led to the multiple injuries and lengthy recovery. 

Pastrana said the decision to make another attempt was, "one of the best ideas at the time, worst decision I made in ever pretty much."

Trying to use the adrenaline from the first attempt and knowing his success rate while practicing in his foam pit, Pastrana said he "got a little too excited" and overshot the trick. 

"It was one of the biggest failures that I've experienced," he said. 

Although his X Games days are over, Pastrana is unwilling to rule out the possibility of getting back on a motorcycle, although he doubts he will ever ride competitively again. 

"It's who I am, but at the same time (NASCAR) is my number one priority for this next year, next two years without a doubt and we can reassess then what life is going to bring," he said. 

While hoping for a better exit from the X Games, the biggest disappointment for Pastrana was letting his NASCAR team down. 

"It was the most disappointing thing in my life, not only to have myself but to have an entire team that was waiting for me and banking on me being in the car and all those guys I'm seeing around the track, they're all on different teams and it's rough," he said. "Not only did we lose some of the top guys, but a lot of friends had to find other work. Definitely something that I took to heart and something I don't ever want to have happen again."

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