Is Travis Pastrana the Hoonigan Heir?
It’s an unofficial position. One to which a person ascends through the collective American acclimation rather than political appointment. It’s a job (of sorts) filled at times by people like Harry Houdini, Buster Keaton, and, of course, Evel Knievel. Call it Chief Thrillseeker or whatever you like, it’s the person who risks it all doing stunts that once seemed couldn’t be done.
With Ken Block passing in January, has Travis Pastrana become America’s new Alpha Stuntman? Is he the person likely to take up Block’s Hoonigan imperative and Gymkhana initiative?
Road & Track contributor Alanis king recently talked with Pastrana, who has already produced his own Gymkhana films for the Hoonigan hive mind. The latest, featuring his manic “Family Huckster” Subaru wagon, helicopters, monster trucks, the shredding of Southern Florida and some blatant pimping of the new WRX, was released in December.
“You know,” Pastrana said, “Ken went out with his boots on. He left behind the family and an amazing legacy and will be remembered in very positive light for many, many years to come."
"I have not talked to Lucy, his wife, or Lia, his daughter. Honestly, I think Ken gave me the opportunity to run this series to see if someone else could take it, and then hopefully pass it on to his daughter, who is a phenomenal rally car driver. I think she did her first rally race when she was 14. She's absolutely amazing, and at 16 she was amazing as well. She's jumped into Nitro Rallycross, and she's had some really, really good performances, and she really wants to do this. But the last month was not the time for me to talk to her or Lucy about where they saw where they see this going. That's totally their call, and I am 100 percent behind whatever decision they make — to continue Ken's legacy to continue Gymkhana or to stop it, to be in or to be out. That's the call of the family.”
Pastrana’s immediate future will be working with 23XI racing to qualify the team’s third car for NASCAR’s 2023 Daytona 500. At 39, he still has amazing vehicular instincts whether that’s tossing around a motorcross bike or flinging a rally car. NASCAR is a different discipline where showing off doesn’t always bring additional speed. His efforts in Florida this month to break into Cup racing will be fascinating to watch.
But it’s his enthusiasm for young Lia Block’s future that may be even more intriguing. At 16, she’s still more potential than accomplishment. But she is already accumulating some daredevil experience and shown some serious aptitude. She’s young enough that her life’s course is yet to be set, but she has a strong heritage behind her. Could Lia Block become America’s next great stunt hero?
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