2010: Year of the Barge Jump

Pastrana inspects the ramp that he will launch his car off come New Year's. Garth Milan

"If there is even a five mile-per-hour headwind," Travis Pastrana casually explained, "I could come up 40-feet short."

When he says "I," he means it. As in I will be in a rally car that'll speed off a ramp, fly over water, and land on a floating barge about a football field away.

"I'm looking for something so far outside the box that people's jaws will drop."

You would think he was a straight-faced accountant describing monthly union dues.

I doubt Cal Ripken mentioned that to the game broadcaster before breaking Lou Gerhig's mighty record. Pastrana has his eyes on a much different record: longest car jump ever. He's used to breaking new ground, and bones. He's been dropping jaws for a long time.

Travis Pastrana

Born: October 8, 1983
Hometown: Annapolis, MD
Nickname: TP, Wonderboy
Known For: Double backflips on a dirt bike, near-perfect FMX freestyle runs, 15 X Games Medals, MTV's Nitro Circus

"It was the safest and easiest thing I ever did," Travis no-brained to me when I asked about jumping out of an airplane shirtless — oh and might I add — PARACHUTELESS as well! A fellow jumper — thankfully with a chute — attached to Pastrana in mid-flight. Then again attaching to this action sports icon is easy to do.

He's a pro athlete at the top of his sport. An athlete who's team had to have a consultation with the local fire and aquatic rescue team will planning the attempt at history. Travis' car could go in to the Pacific. Red Bull: New Year, No Limits (Dec 31 11:00 p.m. ET) is going to be framed by the water in Long Beach, California. However, Travis has no plans to visit the ocean.

Coming up short of the landing ramp is not what he's all about. If anything, young Mr. Pastrana tends to always go a little too far in every way. He has the career injuries earned to prove it.

Back in the day, a New York night out with national media was something different for sports stars. Mickey Mantle would've had a few cocktails when being so open and honest with the gang covering his exploits. For the 26-year-old Pastrana, it's a bottle of water and a refreshing sense of reality.

"I'm ready to go to Long Beach and do the jump right now," when asked how the practices went. Practice is a relative term with something like this. You can tweak the car, make a few shorter jumps, but there's no replicating 300-feet over water onto a barge.

He is probably best known as a mega star of the X Games. His man-has-landed-on-the-moon moment was when he was the first to ever do a double backflip on a motorcycle.

To those who follow action sports Travis is Brett Favre and Derek Jeter. My son's Sports Illustrated for kids lists him as one of the top 50 athletes of the decade. Now he looks to have the last major sports moment of the Aught's.

That term to describe the 2000's comes in handy for Travis. He ought to be careful. He ought to make sure that headwind isn't even 6 mph. Heck, he ought to do more stuff like this. We love it.

Travis Pastrana is the one guy who has proven he can single-handedly push a sport more mainstream. He is a serious pro. He made his mind up to conquer Rally Car and he did so collecting championships. He made his mind up that X Games would be his personal center stage and it has been. Someone once said he is part Howdy Doody. It's accurate. He's a 6-foot-2, 200-pound, awe-shucks, likable goofball ... who just happened to be fearless.

This New Year's Eve he will once again be fearless. Much more than that he will be accomplished, prepared and focused.

This is a distance jump. It is man against a mark. 171-feet is the recognized line to make. Travis has already set the landing ramp far beyond that. He's thinking 240, 250 perhaps even the unthinkable 300. You won't hear a splash, but you will hear plenty of ahhhs. Those jaws will drop.