Travis Pastrana to leave NASCAR at year’s end

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Action sports legend Travis Pastrana will return to his roots, but leave NASCAR, at year’s end.

The 30-year-old currently ranks 14th in his first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with four top-10 finishes and a pole position at Talladega in April. His best result was ninth the week prior to that in Richmond.

Pastrana has driven a colorful, but largely unsponsored, No. 60 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing this season. Pastrana announced the decision on his Facebook page.

“I would like to thank them and all of the other people who stuck behind me during the last two years as I tried to learn how to make a successful career in NASCAR,” he said of Jack Roush’s support. “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.

“I hate to quit and I hate to fail, but sometimes things work out as they should.”

Pastrana wrote he plans to resume in the Nitro Circus Live Tour next year. He’s also done rallying previously, either in American Rallycross or the fledgling Global Rallycross Championship. He said in Las Vegas this past week that he’ll make “some appearances” in GRC in 2014.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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