Travis Pastrana is known for his rallying exploits, but he likes to dabble in stock cars from time to time even if he abandoned his full-time NASCAR career a decade ago. This continued interest has procured a chance for him to check off another item on his bucket list in February: the Daytona 500.
On Tuesday, 23XI Racing announced Pastrana will attempt to make his Cup Series début in the Daytona 500, driving the #67 Toyota Camry. The news was initially teased on Friday before being reported by Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic, and the team formally confirmed the news four days later.
Pastrana needs little introduction as one of the most iconic names in motorsport, and action sports in general, today. In 2012, the eleven-time X Games gold medalist decided to enter NASCAR by competing in the now-Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series. He eventually ran the full 2013 Xfinity slate for what is now RFK Racing, where he finished fourteenth in points with four top tens and a pole at Daytona’s sister superspeedway Talladega. However, unstable funding and poor performance by his standards prompted his departure at year’s end.
In the decade since, he made one-off returns to the Truck Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His most recent start was a twenty-first in 2020.
“I’m thrilled at the chance to race in the Daytona 500,” said Pastrana. “t’s the one event every year that all my friends and family come together to watch at our buddy Dale’s house and it’s an event I’ve wanted to race my entire life. My first Supercross win came at Daytona when I was sixteen years old, and I qualified third at Daytona for the Xfinity Series in 2013. That race didn’t end up well, but I was able to finish tenth despite the fact I crossed the finish line backward through the infield grass at 180 mph.”
Pastrana’s 2023 is loaded with events like competing in his Nitro Rallycross series, where he is fifth in the Group E standings, and the Race of Champions alongside fellow off-road star Tanner Foust on 28/29 January. He won the Nitro RX Supercar championship during the inaugural 2021 season.
The #67 is a new car for 23XI, who fields the #23 for Bubba Wallace and #45 for newcomer Tyler Reddick. While #67 was not a number worn by co-owner Michael Jordan during his legendary basketball career unlike #23 and #45, it adheres to a pattern of adding 22; this also means that the team could logically field a #01 or #89 if they wish. #67 was primarily used by the late Buddy Arrington in the 1970s and 1980s, and last saw action with Boris Said in 2002.
Pastrana will have to make the 500 via qualifying or the Duel as the #67 does not have a charter.
“Trying to earn one of the very few remaining spots in qualifying for the biggest race I’ve ever had the opportunity to compete in will not be an easy task, but I’m confident the 23XI team will give me a car that belongs in the show and truly believe I have the skills to get it there,” he continued. “It was very important for me to put my best foot forward and I’m happy to undertake this endeavor with the 23XI Toyota team. They are always competitive at superspeedways, so I know we will be strong when we get to Daytona. All my friends, family and long-lost relatives plan to be there and I’m looking forward to sharing the moment with all my fans and my partners at Black Rifle Coffee Company, too.”