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IndyCar veteran Santino Ferrucci to run part-time in Xfinity Series

From familiar faces and redemption runs to Michael Jordan's brand new racing team, NASCAR on NBC takes a look at the top storylines going into the 2021 season.

NTT IndyCar Series driver Santino Ferrucci is set to begin his transition to stock car racing.

Ferrucci will run a limited NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule this season for Sam Hunt Racing, starting with the Feb. 27 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His schedule will primarily focus on 1.5-mile tracks.

He recently completed his first stock car test in a Super Late Model for Fury Race Cars.

“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 made 35 IndyCar starts over the past three seasons and was a full-time driver for Dale Coyne Racing in 2019 and ’20.

His best finish was fourth, achieved four times, including the 2020 Indianapolis 500. Ferrucci also claimed Rookie of the Year honors in the 2019 Indy 500 with a seventh-place finish.

Prior to joining IndyCar, Ferrucci was a test/developmental driver for the Haas Formula 1 team and a regular competitor in Formula 2.

His Formula 2 tenure ended following a controversial series of events.

On the cooldown lap of a July 2018 race at Silverstone, Ferrucci intentionally crashed into his teammate and was subsequently given a four-race ban.

Ferrucci was also reprimanded for separate incidents from that weekend, including driving gloveless and holding a cell phone while transitioning to the grid.

He later apologized for his actions, but was ultimately let go by his Formula 2 team, Trident Motorsport. He parted ways with Haas F1 at the end of the year.

“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.”

Sam Hunt Racing will also field a limited, oval-focused schedule for Brandon Gdovic this season, the team confirmed on Jan. 12. His schedule will begin with the season opener on Feb. 13 at Daytona International Speedway.

Gdovic, a past world champion in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo sports car series, made two Xfinity starts for the team last season on the road courses at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona.

He is also a previous race winner in the ARCA Menards Series East.