Travis Pastrana, Action Sports Icon: NASCAR's Newest Wild Child ?

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent INovember 13, 2010

Travis Pastrana, Action Sports Icon: NASCAR's Newest Wild Child ?

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    Handout/Getty Images

    If broken body parts are testament to a fearless, live-life-on-the-edge-daredevil, then Travis Pastrana may be the modern era point man.

    The winner of championships in supercross, motorcross, freestyle motorcross, rally racing and X-Games is heading to the NASCAR Nationwide series.  Pastrana, 27, will drive seven races in 2011 and 20 races in 2012.

    Considering the trauma Pastrana's body has endured, it seems amazing he can continue to compete and win under conditions most would consider extreme.

    At age 14, during a FMX competition, his motorcycle went from 50 mph to zero in a flash during a failed jump.

    The young man's spine was separated from his pelvis.  It was an injury doctors said was usually fatal.  Pastrana was in a wheel chair for several months, but that didn't stop him from doing wheelies with it around the hospital.

    Other injuries include many serious knee injuries and surgeries, a broken tibia and fibula, two surgeries on his left wrist, thumb surgery, two back surgeries and surgery on his elbow and shoulder.

    Pastrana's determination and "no fear" attitude propels him to challenge himself and others in still new venues of racing.  He is also a marketing dream for those involved with his sports activities.

    NASCAR has had it's share of wild drivers with Dale Earnhardt Sr. being one.  Though the "Intimidator" only drove stock cars, he was known for tearing up equipment in the early days of his NASCAR career.

    Pastrana may be another driver who will be somewhat wild when he hits the track in the Nationwide series.  He will try and gain additional seat time in other stock car series, and his dirt track experience should benefit him just as it has others in NASCAR's top-two series.

    Without a doubt, Pastrana will bring a whole new group of fans to NASCAR just to see what he can do.  Given his background, it is fair to say he will be exciting to watch with his daredevil attitude.

    Michael Waltrip may need to bulk up his budget for equipment repair and replacement.  Travis Pastrana may be NASCAR's new wild child when he hits the track in the NASCAR Nationwide series.

    Let's take a look at some of his activities.

Nothing to It

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Just what is so hard about doing a handstand on a motorcycle while it's airborne?

Looks Like Trouble

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    For most, this might look problematic, but for Pastrana it would be more like going hard into a turn.

Who Is That in the White Car?

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Here we see Pastrana running on dirt against Jimmie Johnson.  Johnson did a lot of this and look what happened to him with four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles.

Oops, Fall Down!

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Travis Pastrana has taken more than his share of spills—with lots of injuries.  He usually picks himself up and dusts himself off, then off for more wins.

Yep, I Won!

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Pastrana stands atop his rally car indicating another win.  He did that a lot.

Flying Cars

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    It would not be unusual to see Pastrana flying through the air as seen here.  Let's hope he doesn't go airborne in NASCAR.

Rough Rider

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    It's not so bad in the air, but those intermittent hits on the hard dirt can be tough.

Practice Makes Perfect

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    It only looks hard to flip your motorcycle over in mid-air, hang on to it and land without killing yourself.  Pastrana can almost make it look easy.

Action Sports Icon

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Travis Pastrana is about to bring a lot of new fans to NASCAR who may have never even seen a race.  He doesn't fit the typical driver persona we see in the Nationwide series, so it should be fun to see how he drives those heavy stock cars.

New Media Darling

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Already Pastrana has created a stir with his announcement to run the NASCAR Nationwide series.  Just think of the media attention that will focus on him in 2011.  Could it be the spotlight on Danica Patrick may be aimed in a new direction?