News & Media

Notes: Pastrana heading to Germany for RoC

October 15, 2011, Dave Rodman,

CONCORD, N.C. -- Travis Pastrana's global popularity, experience and love of a thrill overcame the fact that he's in the midst of recovering from severe lower leg injuries, as Pastrana has accepted an invitation to be half of Team USA in the 2011 Race of Champions event scheduled Dec. 3-4 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Team USA coordinator Jim Hancock said, with the event occurring on the same weekend as the Sprint Cup banquet Las Vegas, he was still seeking a NASCAR competitor who was not a Chase for the Sprint Cup contender to partner Pastrana, whose Nationwide Series debut now is tentatively scheduled for Phoenix.

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Pastrana, the action sports star who began dabbling in NASCAR in 2010 and formed Pastrana Waltrip racing in partnership with NASCAR owner Michael Waltrip, had his planned July Nationwide debut postponed when he broke his foot and ankle in a motorcycle crash at the X Games.

Pastrana still competed at those games in a rally car equipped with hand controls. He has one more surgery scheduled to remove the final bits of metal that facilitated his latest recovery. Pastrana has a history of competing hurt, particularly at the RoC.

He broke his leg the day before the 2005 event while attempting a motorcycle stunt in Paris and still made the semi-finals. The following year he was a one-man team when planned teammates Jimmie Johnson and Scott Speed were injured, and made the Nation's Cup final, in the companion event to the individual Race of Champions.

Hancock said he'd like to name Pastrana's partner in the near future and he has a list of potential teammates, including several NASCAR drivers.

"I'm honored to be invited to compete against the best of the best and represent the USA again this year," Pastrana said in the RoC announcement. "There isn't an event anywhere else like the Race of Champions. The competitive nature of the drivers combined with our limited experience in the cars makes for a lot of fun and chaos."

Bayne's 2012 on hold?

Trevor Bayne's third-place run in the Nationwide race Friday at Charlotte was a good warm-up for Saturday night's Sprint Cup start in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, but it didn't clarify what Bayne's plans are for 2012, as he said he hasn't been definitively told what his schedule with the Woods would be.

"So far, I think they have sold 12 to 13 races," Bayne said. "How many of those I'll be racing, I don't know. Hopefully all of them, but I think we're just kind of waiting to see what happens on the Nationwide side, first, too.

"Next year is kind of uncertain right now at this point with a lot at Roush Fenway Racing. If you look at their Cup programs and their Nationwide programs, it's just really tough right now for everybody. Hopefully, we can pick something up to be full-time Nationwide and then hopefully take on all 12 of those Cup races would be my plan -- very similar to this year."

Bayne kicked off his year with a stunning victory in the Daytona 500, but his Nationwide schedule has been disappointing, as he's 11th in the drivers' standings after he missed five races with a medical condition in the spring.

"I would love to run for a championship next year in Nationwide," Bayne said. "That's my goal and, hopefully, Roush Fenway will be able to have the funds and partners to help me do that."

Roush: Toyota at no HP disadvantage

Jack Roush was none too pleased when second-place Nationwide finisher Kyle Busch claimed his Toyota had a power disadvantage to Roush's race-winning Ford, driven by Sprint Cup points leader Carl Edwards.

"We've all got the same parameters, we've all got the same [cylinder head] deck height, we've all got the same camshaft dimensions and valve sizes," Roush said. "The Ford was disadvantaged in those things for years, until we got the FR9 [engine] going last year; so [Busch] certainly doesn't have the advantage, or the Toyotas don't have the advantage that they had over the Fords before.

"It would be a travesty, I think, on top of all the money we're spending on the 2013 car and the fuel injection and on top of the fueling apparatus we've got for the fuel cells and dump cans if we spent money building another engine that we don't need.

"If Toyota got another engine, then Chevrolet would be due one and Dodge would be due one and Ford would have to do one as well. Right now, there's no reason to change the engines. They've all got the same parameters and it's a matter of what carburetor jets you put in it and how much ignition timing you put to it."

Edwards was even blunter.

"I sit in these race cars every week, twice a week and been doing it for a long time and we do not have a horsepower advantage," Edwards said. "Those are political statements that people make to try to get us back to where we were for years, just like Jack said, at a disadvantage.

"Right now, we have the same engine -- as close as I've ever seen it from the driver's seat. I still think there's one manufacturer that has a little more engine than us in the Nationwide Series and maybe in the Cup Series, but from the Toyota side, they're combining with TRD -- the Gibbs folks are -- to make their engines better next year and there is no reason to give any on the parameters. I believe the engines are as close as they've been."

Latest Latin owner emerges

Argentine George Sinica will follow in the footsteps of previous Latin NASCAR team owners Felix Sabates, Armando Fitz and Daisy Ramirez, among others when his No. 93 Sinica Motorsports Chevrolet debuts later this season in a to-be-determined Sprint Cup race.

The owner said the plan was to run a partial schedule of up to 15 races in 2012 using 26-year-old Fairhope, Ala., native Grant Enfinger as driver. Enfinger is fourth in the 2011 ARCA Racing Series standings. He has 36 ARCA starts in the past four seasons, with 13 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes.

Enfinger will make his second career Truck Series start -- his only NASCAR national series experience -- next weekend at Talladega.

"This is a dream come true and something I've been working for all my life," Enfinger said. "I've done nothing of [Sprint Cup] caliber yet, but I guess we'll see how it goes. I feel like we've got some good things in our corner, I feel like we'll be able to prove to some guys that we belong here and that we'll be able to make some races, be competitive and build something from the ground up.

"I don't feel like any part of it's going to be easy. I feel like we'll have some stuff in our corner, but we'll have some stuff pushing against us, too."

Sinica, who said the team's cars, purchased from Richard Childress Racing, would be tuned by crew chief Allen Wellman using a combination of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines and Pro Motor powerplants would debut later this season. The team website cites Phoenix and Homestead as its next two events, though Sinica said Enfinger would begin testing next week. He said he hoped to run the Alabamian in "one Cup race this season, maybe more."

Sinica said they were working on a plan to use a former Cup Series champion as the team's driver in its first event to guarantee the car would be a locked-in starter.

"One of our previous champions might do some developmental work with Grant and also run one of our races this year, that we can't release at this time due to some contract issues they had with other sponsors and teams," Sinica said. "Definitely one of the past champions will be involved in our team in some fashion, both this year and next year."