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Travis Pastrana Returning to NASCAR for 2023 Daytona 500: Report

The extreme sports legend is trying his hand at the top-flight NASCAR Cup series with 23XI Racing.

Extreme sports legend Travis Pastrana is set to enter the Daytona 500 with 23XI racing in February, according to a report from The Athletic. This marks his first time competing in the top-flight NASCAR Cup Series after competing in the Truck Series and Xfinity earlier in his career.

Pastrana needs little introduction, but his background in oval racing is less known than his exploits in motocross, rallycross, and rallying. He has also taken the reigns of the Gymkhana series in place of the late Ken Block. Pastrana’s presence in global motorsports is serious, and his commitment to sending it is undefeated. His career in NASCAR has been consistent and respectable, with a few highlights.

Travis Pastrana at the 2020 Westgate 200 in Las Vegas. Getty

With Xfinity and Truck Series, he’s made a combined 47 starts with a best finish of ninth in a 2013 Xfinity race at Richmond Raceway. He drove two years total in Xfinity, with a part-time season in 2012 and a full-time season in 2013. Also, he competed in the Truck series in 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2020, making his career decidedly part-time and a little scattered. His talent behind the wheel is not in doubt, and he definitely has the experience he needs on ovals now. So, 23XI allegedly signing him for the Daytona 500 will make for an interesting challenge.

Pastrana will have to earn his spot in the 40-car Daytona field the hard way: being in the top two in qualifying for open teams or top two among drivers not guaranteed a starting position. 23XI’s full-time drivers Bubba Wallace and newly-signed Tyler Reddick are assured starting positions/ Reddick is standing in for the injured Kurt Busch, who was signed in 2022.

The announcement of Pastrana as a driver is expected next week, with the official entry list from NASCAR not released until the week of the race. 

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