Cornelius, NC – Michael Waltrip Racing and RAB Racing revealed on Tuesday they have formed an agreement in the Nationwide Series for the 2012 season.
Action sports superstar Travis Pastrana will drive for the team in the April 27 Nationwide race at Richmond International Raceway. It will also be Pastrana's long-awaited debut in the series.
As part of the alliance, RAB Racing will acquire additional cars and receive technical and marketing support from MWR. RAB Racing will change its current No. 09 number to the No. 99, starting at Richmond. Kenny Wallace drove the No. 09 for the team during the 2011 season and for the first five races this year. Ryan Truex was behind the wheel of the car last Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.
"This is the next step for our team, having an alliance with a top Sprint Cup organization," RAB Racing co-owner Robby Benton said in a statement. "We have a great core of people who believe in one another, and this will help us grow in the future."
Since the No. 09 is currently in the top-30 in Nationwide owner points, Pastrana will be guaranteed a starting position in the Richmond race.
"Robby Benton and [crew chief] Scott Zipadelli have been awesome," Pastrana said. "We kind of formed an alliance with them earlier this year and just formally announced it, which really helps me to really focus on racing."
Pastrana is an 11-time X-Games gold medalist and has claimed championships in supercross, motocross and rally racing. Last July, he was scheduled to make his first Nationwide start in Indianapolis, but days before that race, he suffered a broken right ankle and foot during an accident while competing in the X Games in Los Angeles.
RAB Racing will also field Nationwide entries for MWR in additional races. Team co-owner Michael Waltrip noted the alliance isn't limited to fielding cars for Pastrana only.
"Whenever we have an opportunity to go Nationwide racing with any of our drivers, it will be in the No. 99 at RAB Racing," Waltrip said. "We'll add to the schedule here pretty soon with another announcement."