Travis Pastrana will compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year, driving for the newly formed Pastrana-Waltrip Racing.
Pastrana, a multiple X-Games freestyle motocross gold medalist and Rally America champion, is set to attempt success in America's most popular form of motorsports. He will race a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in seven Nationwide events next year, followed by 20 more in 2012.
"I've been following NASCAR closely for years as a fan, with competing in the sport a lifelong dream," said Pastrana. "I decided it was time to try and turn that dream into reality and, with the help of the Bechtel family, Michael Waltrip Racing and Wasserman Media Group, I'm now one step closer."
The 27-year-old, who will be co-owner of Pastrana-Waltrip Racing, is expected to engage into an intensive transition program to stock car racing, which is set to include races in the lower-level NASCAR Pro Series East over the next two seasons, alongside his Nationwide Series campaign. Pastrana and his team expect their apprenticeship will allow the American racer to be ready to compete in the 2013 Daytona 500.
Michael Waltrip hopes Pastrana's arrival will boost NASCAR audiences and attract a younger demographic, an area where the series has struggled in recent years.
"Travis has built an enormous and unique following all over the world," Waltrip said. "As a race team owner, we are always looking for ways to deliver to our partners and engage our fans better. This is an opportunity to showcase our company and our sport to a new generation of young fans.
"We're also looking for that next big star. Travis already is one and action sports is full of talented athletes. Having Travis as a part of our program adds another great dimension to our team and to NASCAR."
Pastrana, a Red Bull-backed athlete, has achieved success in the U.S. in his transition to four-wheels, including gold medals in the X-Games in rallying.
Ricky Carmichael, a former motocross champion, made the switch to NASCAR two years ago and currently competes full time in the Camping World Truck Series.