Young IndyCar Star Begins Transition to NASCAR

The IndyCar Series is losing one of its most notorious young stars to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021.

Santino Ferrucci has joined Sam Hunt Racing for 20 events on the second-tier stock car circuit, beginning on Feb. 27 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, primarily with a focus on intermediate and short track events.

The extent of his stock car experience was a recently completed Super Late Model test at Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. He will also compete in his second Chili Bowl Midget Nationals next week at the Tulsa Expo Center in Oklahoma.

“I’m incredibly proud to join Sam Hunt Racing and (Toyota Racing Development),” Ferrucci said in a team release. “I think together, we will have a ton of success. Working with Sam these past few weeks has been fantastic and his drive to put out a great racecar and team is second to none.

“The transition to NASCAR will be tough especially with no practice, qualifying, or testing but I welcome the challenge. My limited experience before the green flag in Miami will be the Chili Bowl and my Super Late Model test.

“So far, everyone at NASCAR and the people that make up the NASCAR community have been very welcoming to me, the testing that I’ve done has gone really well, and I am excited to start racing!”

Ferrucci has made 35 starts in the IndyCar Series over the past three seasons and competed full-time for Dale Coyne Racing over the past two seasons. He earned rookie of the year honors in the 2019 Indianapolis 500.

His best finish in IndyCar is fourth, four times, including the 2020 Indianapolis 500.

He will be fully focused on NASCAR in 2021 but will seek the opportunity to compete in the Indianapolis 500 if it’s with a competitive operation.

A native of Connecticut, Ferrucci spent several years overseas as a development driver in the Haas Formula 1 system.

He spent partial seasons in F2 in 2017-2018 with Trident, but that tenure ended with a series of controversial incidents that included driving with a phone and intentionally crashing teammate Arjun Maini.

He left Haas at the end of that season and made his way into IndyCar.

“Santino’s passion and drive was apparent the first time we sat down together,” team owner Sam Hunt, said. “I had heard about him, seen some stories from open wheel, but waited to form my opinion until we spent some time together one on one. He’s a great kid. He’s passionate, and he’s ready to learn the race craft of NASCAR.

“He’s situationally aware and works hard for every sponsor and investor he has. I have no doubts that he will be a strong competitor for us once he learns how these heavy cars drive, and how these races run. We are all excited to get to work with him.”

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