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Travis Pastrana could do what Danica Patrick couldn’t for NASCAR - win
One year ago this week Danica Patrick made her NASCAR debut.  The buildup to her first race began the previous year when the announcement was made amidst great fanfare at JR Motorsports.

Patrick’s arrival into NASCAR’s Nationwide Series was controversial for some, but generally welcomed by those whose jobs centered on advancing the sport to the masses.  The feeling was that the attention brought by one of the world’s most beautiful female athletes would help draw people to the sport and grow its fan base.

The reality was much different.

When Patrick made the announcement that she would make her debut at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2010 instead of later in the season it was one of the biggest news items of Speedweeks. Patrick finished 35th in her first NASCAR race after crashing out early. From there Patrick’s Nationwide Series record ,running a limited schedule, never really improved and her best finish of the season came at the final race of the year; a 19th at Homestead.

The media attention paid to Patrick as she began the season to the end went from a mighty roar to a near quiet whisper. When her performance on the track didn’t seem to live up to the hype the media seemed to shy away.  The big splash that was expected never seemed to materialize and the big story of the Nationwide season turned out to be the debut of the next generation racecars. Although there aren’t any solid numbers to back it up, the Nationwide series didn’t seem to gain any more fans because of Patrick. The same fans that could be expected to follow her progress until she begins her foray into the top tier NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

This year the biggest newcomer to the Nationwide Series is Travis Pastrana. The 11 time X-Games gold medalist has several supercross and motocross titles and four Rally America championships.  He also hosts a show on MTV called the Nitro Circus. In short he’s built an empire centered around extreme motorsports.

Pastrana has a legion of fans, most of whom are under the age of 40 and many of whom have never watched a NASCAR race.

Travis Pastrana might very well change all that.

In his debut at the Toyota All-Star Showdown in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway several weeks ago, Pastrana finished a respectable sixth. His plans at the moment have him debuting in the Nationwide series at Indy in July.

If his legions of fans do follow him, as they are expected to, and Pastrana can deliver results on the track NASCAR may have a reason to smile. With his brand of excitement and his talent behind the wheel, Pastrana should be able to deliver all the things to NASCAR that Danica Patrick could not. Examiner.com

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