X Games star and famed stunt performer Travis Pastrana had announced that he will not be making his NASCAR Nationwide Series début in 2011 after all.
Pastrana had been scheduled to make his first race start at NASCAR national level last week at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis last weekend as part of a big publicity "Pastanathon" coinciding with his competing in the 17th X Games in Los Angeles.
A fall while trying to pull off a complex move in the Moto X Best Trick competition left him with fractures to his right foot and ankle, which ruled him out of flying across country to Indianapolis for the Kroger 200. Further injuries to the ligaments in his hand during an earlier practice crash meant he would have struggled with the Nationwide car's gears in any case, as the series doesn't allow "flap paddle" gear changers.
Pastrana's injuries required surgery midweek when he returned to Maryland, and the operation was carried out by Dr Tom Dennis at Riva Road Surgical Center in Annapolis on Wednesday evening.
The operation was declared a success, but it was revealed that the recuperation would require Pastrana to be immobilised in traction for at least a full month, and then would be unable to apply weight to his right leg for at least the same amount of time after that.
That sidelines Pastrana for at least two months, and as a result Pastrana has announced that he is pulling out of the the six other Nationwide races he had been scheduled to run in 2011: Dover (October 1), Kansas (October 8), Texas (November 5), Phoenix (November 12) and Homestead-Miami (November 19).
"To give my ankle and foot time to heal properly we have decided to wait until 2012 to make my NASCAR debut," Pastrana said in a press release from Pastrana-Waltrip Racing, the NASCAR Nationwide team he co-owns with Michael Waltrip. "I probably could have been ready for the final couple of races in 2011, but it just makes more sense to start fresh in 2012. We are already starting to talk about testing and what I need to do to prepare for next season.
"My sincere apologies go out to my NASCAR team, fans and sponsors for this delay. Thanks for all of the support. This will be a fun ride - eventually!" he added.
It's also a blow for the organisers of the IZOD IndyCar World Championship in Las Vegas in mid-October, which had been counting on Pastrana's participation to boost ratings for their $5 million challenge to any non-IndyCar driver who could win the race from under the noses of the regular field.
While Pastrana is not entirely ruled out of the Vegas event - and he's known for pushing the limits whenever he can - it will be all-but impossible for him to be ready in time for the necessary preparations and test sessions required of guest entrants for Vegas.