Travis Pastrana and Jimmie Johnson both qualified for the 2023 Daytona 500 during a special qualifying shoot-out for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, which was held on Wednesday at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway.
The two drivers, who have each recently announced plans to cut back on their respective racing programs, had the two fastest speeds among non-chartered cars.
Pastrana will drive a Toyota Camry for 23XI Racing, the team founded by NBA legend Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin back in 2020. The team currently fields two cars in the Cup Series, driven by Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick.
Johnson will drive a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Legacy Motor Club (formerly Petty GMS Motorsports), which he co-owns with Richard Petty and Maurice J. Gallagher Jr.
The 2023 Daytona 500 will take place on February 19.
Pastrana is probably most widely recognized for his recent “Gymkhana” videos, though he’s also a competitive driver in rally competition and has also seen success in motocross. He’s also a founder of the Nitro Rallycross series in which he currently competes. He announced earlier in February that he is cutting back his racing schedule to spend more time with family.
Johnson is a seven-time NASCAR champion. He’s returning to the series on a limited basis after two years in IndyCar. Like Pastrana, Johnson last year also announced plans to step back from a full racing schedule to spend more time with family and try out other endeavors. One of those endeavors will be driving a specially prepared NASCAR race car in this year’s 2024 Hours of Le Mans.
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