Santino Ferrucci is making the jump to stock cars. On Friday, Sam Hunt Racing announced that the IndyCar Series driver will begin racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021, driving the #26 Toyota Supra for approximately twenty races.
“Proud to announce I will be racing for @team_shr26 & @toyotaracing this season in Xfinity! It’s an incredible opportunity and our primary focus will be on mile and half tracks, starting with Homestead this February,” Ferrucci wrote in an Instagram post.
Ferrucci spent much of his career in open-wheel cars, racing primarily in the European ladder such as the GP3 Series, Formula 3, and Formula 2 along with being a test driver for Haas F1 Team. A controversial figure, he was fired from his F2 team during the 2018 season, but eventually found his footing back home in America in the IndyCar Series.
He ran the full 2019 and 2020 IndyCar seasons for Dale Coyne Racing, finishing thirteenth in points in both years with a best race finish of fourth on four occasions; one of such runs came in last August’s Indianapolis 500. His 2021 plans were in flux at season’s end, but he expressed his interest in running NASCAR races like the new Bristol dirt event or the Charlotte Roval. In December, reports suggested he would join Our Motorsports‘ newly-opened second car (which Tyler Reddick will pilot at Daytona to begin the 2021 season), though neither he nor the team made any confirmation.
Instead, Ferrucci joins SHR and will make his NASCAR début in the Xfinity Series’ third race of the season at Homestead. The 22-year-old’s full schedule was not revealed, but he will primarily focus on the mile-and-a-half tracks. Although his wishes of racing on the dirt at Bristol will not be answered in the Xfinity Series as it is only for the Cup and Camping World Truck Series, the Roval—along with various other road courses—is still on the table.
Sam Hunt Racing has run ten races since their formation in 2019, with all but one start taking place in 2020. Colin Garrett, Mason Diaz, and Brandon Gdovic split time in the #26, and Gdovic holds the team’s best finish of twelfth on the Indianapolis road course. The team will continue working with Toyota Racing Development.