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Bubba Wallace to run Michigan Xfinity race

A.J. Allmendinger's experience on road courses pays off at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as he puts himself in the right place at the right time to capture the NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Cup Series regular Bubba Wallace will compete in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Michigan International Speedway for Hattori Racing Enterprises.

HRE announced Monday that Wallace will drive the No. 61 Toyota in place of Austin Hill, the organization’s full-time driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“I’m excited to race again in the Xfinity Series,” Wallace said in a team release. “Michigan is a track where I’ve run well in the past and even won in the Truck Series. Anytime we can get extra track time, it helps. Just to get extra laps before the Cup race on Sunday will be good with no practice or qualifying.

“Thanks to everyone at HRE and Toyota for the opportunity to run the AISIN Supra this weekend. Hopefully, we can go out and have a strong race and put ourselves in contention at the end of the day.”

Hill was scheduled to continue his part-time Xfinity schedule at Michigan. Instead, he will focus on Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff opener at World Wide Technology Raceway outside St. Louis.

Hill enters the Truck playoffs seeded second in the 10-driver field. He closed out the regular season with consecutive wins on the dirt at Knoxville and the road course at Watkins Glen.

“We really enjoy running the Xfinity Series but having someone like Bubba step in to help this weekend will let us focus 100% on our AISIN Toyota Tundra at (World Wide Technology Raceway),” Hill said in the same release. “The first race in the playoffs is always important and our team has a great chance to win everywhere we go with our AISIN Toyota Tundra.

“Being able to focus solely on (World Wide Technology Raceway) Friday night will be helpful for us to get our championship run started on the right foot.”

Wallace made 85 Xfinity starts between 2012-17, posting six top five and 35 top-10 finishes.

His most recent series start came in September 2017 at Chicagoland Speedway.