Travis Pastrana, Danica Patrick and Kimi Raikkonen have one thing in common, that of dabbling in a variety of NASCAR Series racing while still maintaining careers in other racing and sports endeavors.
[media-credit id=62 align=”alignright” width=”221″][/media-credit]Yet at some point, all three of these talents, one from Rally and X Games fame, one from IndyCar Racing, and the other a Formula One champ, must make an important choice. They must decide if they will give their all to focus on making it in the realm of stock car racing.
Unfortunately, Travis Pastrana had his choice made for him this weekend. Instead of participating in “Pastranathon”, competing in the X Games as well as making his NASCAR Nationwide debut at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Pastrana broke his right foot and ankle while attempting a double ‘TP Roll’ on his motorcycle in X Game competition.
“I’m disappointed in myself for letting everyone down,” Pastrana said. “I can’t tell you how sorry and how disappointed I am that I messed that trip to Indy up.”
Because of Pastrana’s injuries, including not only his leg and foot injury as well as an injury to his hand that he sustained in practice, the 27 year old driver’s choice as far as NASCAR competition has been made at least until next year.
“I have surgery scheduled for Tuesday,” Pastrana said. “I have to get my hand pinned and plated, my right leg pinned and plated, and my right foot pinned and plated. So unfortunately I won’t be up for about two months.”
“I’m definitely hoping to get back as fast as possible and get as much time in that car as possible and go have some fun,” Pastrana continued. “I look forward to being in NASCAR next year.”
Pastrana’s team owner, Michael Waltrip, was also disappointed that his driver’s choice was made for him as far as his Nationwide racing debut.
“Like fans everywhere we were so excited about Travis’ debut,” Waltrip said. “We have a long-term vision with Travis which includes lots of NASCAR.”
“We can’t wait to get him healed and in our race cars,” Waltrip continued. “We’ve waited a long time for someone like Travis Pastrana. I guess we’ll just have to wait a little bit longer.”
While Pastrana had his choice made for him regarding NASCAR, IndyCar Racing driver Danica Patrick still has a major choice before her. She must decide soon what her future will be in both or either of these racing series.
This year, Patrick, while maintaining her IndyCar Racing obligations, has also been racing select Nationwide races under the JR Motorsports banner.
Rumors have, of course, been rampant about her racing future in 2012. Many have speculated that she will run a full-time Nationwide schedule, as well as a handful of Cup starts.
Yet even her team owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is uncertain as to the choice she will make about competing in stock car racing full-time.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Dale Junior said. “I think things are looking positive for us to put something together.”
“I would like for her to run full-time,” Junior continued. “I’m sure she is considering that and I think she would enjoy it.”
“She seems to really enjoy driving stock cars and racing in the Nationwide Series,” Earnhardt, Jr. said of Patrick. “We just have to see but I haven’t heard anything about it.”
While Dale Earnhardt, Jr. may be excited about Danica Patrick’s future in NASCAR, one other driver, a Formula 1 champion, has virtually disappeared from the NASCAR scene. After trying his hand at both the Truck and Nationwide Series, Kimi Raikkonen has seemingly not chosen the stock car scene.
Raikkonen started out both NASCAR runs, including the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series, with high hopes and good feelings.
“Everybody’s been very nice and very welcome,” the ‘Iceman’ said of his NASCAR foray. “It’s a nice atmosphere, very relaxed.”
Unfortunately, Raikkonen struggled and finished the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 27th place, several laps down.
“It was nice in the beginning but it turned out to be really bad,” Raikkonen said. “Once it got difficult, you cannot race and you really try to survive. Up until that point, it was fun.”
But when asked if the race was fun enough to return to the NASCAR scene, the Finland native said simply, “I don’t know yet.”
And that seems to sum it up for all three of these drivers. Their NASCAR futures are simply uncertain.
One final commonality, however, remains for all three of these racing stars in their own rights. Each one, Pastrana, Patrick and Raikkonen, must eventually not only choose to race in the world of stock cars, but in order to be successful, they will also have to choose to make it their first, and potentially, their only priority.