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Snakebitten Pastrana Falls Out Of X Games, GRC Title Hunt

Image via TravisPastrana.com

Travis Pastrana’s X Games ended before they really had a chance to start this year, marking two straight years of frustration for one of the event’s legends.

Last year, a Moto X accident left him with a serious ankle injury, and a hand clutch in his Rally car proved challenging to learn. This year, Pastrana chose to focus on rally, but saw his medal hopes dashed in the first turn of his qualifying race after an incident involving the entire field.

There had been rumors – confirmed facts, if you believed both Pastrana’s and the Global Rallycross Championship’s Twitter accounts – that Pastrana would take over teammate Bryce Menzies’ Dodge Dart and race in the last chance qualifier in a mad dash to make the X Games final.

Then, without comment, ESPN cameras showed Pastrana standing in the paddock, sending Menzies off to the grid with wishes of good luck. Pastrana wouldn’t be racing after all.

As it turns out, competitors didn’t like the gesture, and the series decided that Pastrana’s move would have flown in the face of the rulebook and the spirit of competition. After all, no wrecked driver had been allowed to replace a less prominent teammate in a last chance qualifier in the first two races of the season, and while Pastrana practiced his team’s second car after destroying his front end in jump practice at Texas, that was on Friday, while the race took place on Saturday.

In the end, Pastrana was unable to complete his heat race, compete in his last chance qualifier, or advance to the final. To add insult to injury, he walked out of Los Angeles with a single point, dropping all the way to 14th in GRC standings.

The New Hampshire round on July 14th will thus be a major proving ground for Pastrana; while his championship hopes are all but a distant memory from the start of the season, he still has a chance to go for race victories and maybe even the Discount Tire/America’s Tire Cup, which comes from a driver’s results at Texas, New Hampshire, and Las Vegas. In that regard, maybe this isn’t a lost season for Pastrana after all – provided his luck changes quickly.

– Chris Leone

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