Santino Ferrucci’s stock car path became clearer on Friday.
The affable open-wheel racer announced he will run part-time with Sam Hunt Racing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series in 2021.
Ferrucci, 22, will make his NXS debut in the No. 26 SHR Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 27th.
“I’m incredibly proud to join Sam Hunt racing and TRD,” Ferrucci said in a statement. “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 race car 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.”
Ferrucci tested a Late Model under the direction of Fury Race Cars at Caraway Speedway near Asheboro, N.C., on Dec. 21. For the last three seasons, the Woodbury, Connecticut driver has raced with Dale Coyne in IndyCar. His best result was fourth, four times, including the 2020 Indianapolis 500. Prior to that, Ferrucci served as a test driver for Haas F1.
“So far everyone at NASCAR and the people that make up the NASCAR community have been very welcoming to me,” Ferrucci added. “The testing that I've done has gone really well, and I am excited to start racing.”
Team owner Sam Hunt was impressed by Ferrucci’s ability to acclimate to the heavier cars so quickly.
“Santino’s passion and drive was apparent the first time we sat down together,” 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.”
Sam Hunt Racing enters its second season of NXS competition. Hunt, 27, competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2012 and then on a limited basis before shifting his focus from behind the wheel to team ownership in 2019. SHR enjoys a technical alliance with Toyota Racing Development and is powered by Joe Gibbs Racing engines.
Ferrucci will make his second Tulsa Expo Raceway appearance next week in the 35th running of the Chili Bowl Nationals. He’s scheduled to qualify the No. 10 Dave Mac Motorsports Toyota on Wednesday. The team tested earlier this week at Port City Raceway in Tulsa.
Team owner Dave McIntosh feels Ferrucci fits in well with his program.
“He’s my kind of guy,” McIntosh told RacinBoys on Friday. “I expected him to fly in here, make a couple of practice runs and jump back on the plane and leave. The guy hung out in the shop. He’s very personable. He wanted to know how the cars worked. He was way more into it than I expected.
“I knew he was there last year, but I didn’t know if he was taking it seriously. I kind of thought it might be a publicity deal. You never know what their intentions are, but he looked me in the eye and said, ‘I want to be competitive. That’s why I want to race with you. I want to practice. I want to take this serious.’ So that made me even more excited that he was serious and that he wanted to be a factor next week.”