Travis Pastrana announced Monday that he is leaving the Roush Fenway Racing team and will not be competing in NASCAR Nationwide events in 2014, following a week of rumors and speculation about his future in auto racing.
"It's tough to step back now and prove the critics were right, but unfortunately my results were not good enough to get the sponsors I needed to appropriately fund next season," Pastrana said in a statement.
Pastrana is currently ranked 14th overall on the NASCAR Nationwide series. He cracked the top 10 four times this season, but never made the podium. His best finish put him in ninth place at the ToyotaCare 250 in Richmond, Va., and his season included an infamous crash and 36th place finish at Aaron's 312 in Talladega, Ala., where he squandered his first pole position award.
For the last two years, Pastrana's schedule has included commitments to the NASCAR Nationwide series, Global RallyCross (GRC) and X Games Rally races and the Nitro Circus Live tour, sometimes all in the same week. This year he's struggled to juggle it all, calling the 2013 NASCAR and GRC season "my worst, all the way across the board, in my entire life."
"I hate to quit and I hate to fail, but sometimes things work out as they should," he continued. "I've never been able to figure out the finesse required in pavement racing and that is disappointing, but I'm looking forward to driving more rally and racing more off-road trucks. My wife is excited to get back to skating on the Nitro Circus Live Tour and I'm excited to spend some quality time with my girls."
Pastrana announced on Thursday that MTV2 has signed on for a third season of the series produced by Godfrey Entertainment, this time documenting the Nitro Circus Live tour. The North American tour launches on Jan. 3 in Hamilton, Ontario, and it's going to be a family affair: Pastrana's wife Lyn-Z, a three-time X Games gold medalist, will be back to skateboarding in the show in 2014 after a brief maternity leave following the birth of their daughter, Addy Ruth, on Sept. 2.
"My wife Lyn-z has been more than supportive of my foray into NASCAR, often times being my biggest source of encouragement and support," Pastrana said in the statement. "But as my wife had to take a step back from being a professional skater to let me chase my goals in racing, I too need to take a step back and look at my situation as a father and husband. The NASCAR schedule is grueling and takes enormous sacrifices from those you love to make work. With a lack of funding next year, now is my opportunity to sit back and offer support as she chases her goals."
The Pastranas want to expand the Nitro Circus tour and create a permanent live show in Las Vegas at a former Cirque du Soleil theater at the Venetian Macau. The New York Times' Deal Book reported that Nitro Circus and Godfrey Entertainment – the company producing its tours, television properties, and movies – are merging, with a $25 million investment boost from the Raine Group to help with those goals.
"Nitro Circus has turned into this tremendous success story," Pastrana told XGames.com at the Global RallyCross season finale in Las Vegas on Friday. "My NASCAR career? Not so much. Racing is very serious, especially at the higher levels – it's awesome and I love it and it's more challenging than I ever imagined – but I also get my competitive spirit stoked from the way everyone pushes each other when we get our Nitro Circus crew together."
Pastrana will complete the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series at the Ford Ecoboost 300 in Homestead, Fla., on Saturday.