Travis Pastrana successfully completes all three of Evel Knievel’s most famous jumps

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Extreme motorsports superstar Travis Pastrana successfully replicated three of Evel Knievel’s most famous jumps without incident — and did them in record-breaking fashion — Sunday night in Las Vegas.

“It’s such an honor to live a day in Evel’s footsteps and literally in his boots,” Pastrana told The History Channel, which televised the three-hour event live. “I made my dreams come true and hopefully everyone enjoyed the show.

“Man, it’s been such an honor and been an awesome career. I’m not done yet, but this was definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever been able to do.”

Pastrana came into the night having previously told the New York Post he had one goal — “Try not to die” — and he successfully achieved that.

Dressed in a red, white and blue starred firesuit and cape that paid homage to Knievel’s trademark outfit, Pastrana began the night by jumping 52 crushed cars, surpassing Knievel’s mark of 50 cars. The length was a record 140 feet.

Then, Pastrana jumped 16 Greyhound buses (a record 193 feet), breaking the 14 buses that Knievel jumped during his career in 1975 (although Knievel crashed while jumping 13 buses at London’s Wembley Stadium five months earlier in 1975).

MORE: Travis Pastrana’s goal: ‘Try not to die’ in bid to replicate 3 of Evel Knievel’s most famous jumps

Then came the grand finale: Jumping the main fountain at Caesar’s Palace. When Knievel attempted the same jump in 1967, he crashed and suffered extensive injuries.

That was not the case for Pastrana, even though he had a significantly smaller area for both takeoff and landing due to capital improvements and expansion of the same area over the years after Knievel made his jump attempt more than 50 years ago.

Prior to making the final jump, Pastrana told The History Channel, which televised the three-hour event live, “This has been absolutely amazing. The other two jumps I had enough time to hit my marks exactly perfect. I have just so much respect for Evel for having paved the way for us.

“This (jumping the fountain) is definitely the most technical.”

Pastrana jumps over 16 Greyhound buses, the second of three jumps he performed successfully Sunday night in Las Vegas.

After his first two jumps, Pastrana – with a police escort – traveled down Las Vegas Boulevard doing burnouts and wheelies, taking selfies with and giving high-fives to fans who lined the roadway as he made his way to Caesar’s Palace.

“This was so cool, such an epic time,” Pastrana told The History Channel. “To be able to get a police escort, doing wheelies and burnouts on the Strip in Las Vegas, come on!”

But Pastrana grew more serious knowing the most dangerous and technical jump was still to come.

“It’s just been a lot of fun, but really, this is the one that matters the most to me,” Pastrana said. “This is the most infamous location, Caesar’s Palace, to jump the fountain. It’s not the longest jump, but by far the hardest.”

Even with just a 200-foot run-off area, Pastrana made the final and most difficult jump (a record length of 149 feet) look easy, even performing a NASCAR-style two-wheeled burnout in celebration.

Conditions were near-perfect weather-wise, although the temperatures were between 105 and 110 degrees, with temps on the surrounding asphalt – much like on a racetrack – hovered around 125 degrees.

Pastrana then capped things off with one final and successful jump: he ran and jumped into the fountain, a fitting ending to one of the most outstanding extreme motorsports events ever seen.

Check out some posts from social media, including video of some of his jumps:

 

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New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”