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Pastrana joins Roush for 2013 Nationwide bid

4 January 2013

Travis Pastrana has decided that it's time to get serious about his attempt to switch from X-Games to NASCAR stock car racing, and has signed a deal to compete in the full 33-race Nationwide Series championship with Roush Fenway Racing in 2013.

“I am extremely excited about making the move into full-time NASCAR competition in 2013, and equally thrilled to have the opportunity to make that move with Jack Roush and the team at Roush Fenway Racing,” said Pastrana on Thursday.

“I am very serious about making this move, running competitively and ultimately winning races in NASCAR,” he continued. “No team can claim the success in the Nationwide Series that Roush Fenway has, and I know driving an RFR Ford will provide me with the maximum opportunity to develop my skills behind the wheel of a stock car.”

Pastrana will drive the team's #60 Ford Mustang. Pastrana's crew chief will be Chad Norris, who was Carl Edwards' Sprint Cup crew chief in 2012 after the abrupt enforced departure from the post of Edwards' long-time partner Bob Osborne on medical grounds.

“Travis is a champion,” said Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush. "He is serious about this move to NASCAR, and we are committed to doing everything we can to see his career develop in NASCAR. We would certainly expect to see a great level of excitement brought to the table as he progresses within our sport.”

Pastrana originally planned to début in the Nationwide Series at Indianapolis in 2011 but this had to be delayed after he injured himself in an X-Games stunt. Pastrana finally made his maiden outing in the Nationwide Series at Richmond International Raceway in April 2012, the first of eight events that he competed in with RAB Racing in 2012. He finished the year with his first outing with Roush, back at Richmond for the championship's second visit to RIR at the start of September.

Other Nationwide Series news announced this week includes confirmation that Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team JR Motorsports will field two cars in almost all of the 2013 season, and that Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet will be spearheading the team's endeavours in the #5 Chevrolet in 27 of the season's 33 outings. Team general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said that they were still working on securing the funding necessary to cover the remaining five races.

"We all look forward to joining JR Motorsports and continuing to build on the success that they have had," said Kahne, who is Earnhardt's Sprint Cup team mate at Hendrick Motorsports. Backing from Kahne's longtime sponsor Great Clips is crucial to the team being able to field the #5 in 2013.

It had already been revealed that Regan Smith is to compete for a championship in the team's #7 car, while Earnhardt Jr. himself will take the wheel of the #88 for at least four races during the 2013 season.

“I'm looking forward to this new opportunity with JR Motorsports," said Brad Sweet. "As a young driver in this sport, having the chance to drive under the JR Motorsports banner is an amazing opportunity that I plan to make the most of. The 2013 season is 'gonna be great' and I can't wait to get it started."

While not yet confirmed, industry sources have told ESPN that Turner Motorsports' Nationwide operation is close to inking a ten-race deal with Danica Patrick to race for them in this year's championship, with sponsorship from GoDaddy.com. Talladega and Watkins Glen are expected to be among the events that Patrick would elect to run.

Patrick finished her first full Nationwide season in tenth place in 2012 - the highest final position for a woman in a national-level NASCAR championship - and will move to Sprint Cup full-time this season with Stewart/Haas Racing. However, the additional ten outings in the second-tier series would give her valuable extra experience of key tracks during the season.

Turner has a history of servicing partial Nationwide programs for Cup drivers, and last season they put Kasey Kahne into 15 races. Turner's full time entry Justin Allgaier finished in sixth place in the overall championship standings.

Turner Motorsports also confirmed this week that it had closed a full-season deal for James Buescher in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, putting him back behind the wheel of the team's #31 Chevrolet Silverado with which he won the 2012 title.

"Last season was a dream come true for me," said Buescher, who clinched four wins, ten top-fives and 14 top tens on his way to last year's title. "I had always dreamed of winning a NASCAR championship. I am most excited about the opportunity to compete to become the first driver to win the NCWTS championship in back-to-back seasons."


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