IndyCar: Santino Ferrucci moves to NASCAR for 2021

Santino Ferrucci, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Santino Ferrucci, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Santino Ferrucci is set to move on from full-time IndyCar racing to compete part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021 for Sam Hunt Racing.

After two full seasons of IndyCar competition, Santino Ferrucci is set to make the move to NASCAR for the upcoming season.

The 22-year-old Woodbury, Connecticut native is set to run 20 of the 33 races on the 2021 Xfinity Series schedule for Sam Hunt Racing, which made their series debut in 2019 and ran a part-time schedule in 2020.

The team announced this news on Twitter.

Ferrucci is set to drive the #26 Toyota in the upcoming season, and he is set to compete primarily at the intermediate tracks, namely the 1.5-mile ovals. His full schedule has not yet been announced.

He is set to make his debut on Saturday, February 27 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Here is what Ferrucci had to say about this opportunity in a team release.

"“I’m incredibly proud to join Sam Hunt Racing and (Toyota Racing Development). 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!”"

Here is what team owner Sam Hunt had to add.

"“Santino’s passion and drive was apparent the first time we sat down together. 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.”"

Ferrucci made his IndyCar debut in the 2018 season with Dale Coyne Racing and competed in four races, finishing as high as 11th place in the season finale at Sonoma Raceway, before landing a full-time ride with the team for the 2019 season.

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He finished in 13th place in the championship standings with three fourth place finishes, all on oval tracks, and an additional four top 10 finishes throughout the 17-race season, including a seventh place finish in his rookie Indy 500 appearance. He finished in fourth in the unofficial oval standings.

He returned to the team in 2020 and also finished in 13th in the standings, and he matched his career-best finish of fourth in the Indy 500.

As of now, Dale Coyne Racing do not have any drivers confirmed for the 2021 season, as Alex Palou, Ferrucci’s teammate from 2020, is set to compete for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ferrucci has not ruled out competing in this year’s Indy 500, if offered a competitive ride.

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The 2021 IndyCar season was originally slated to get underway on Sunday, March 7 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, but coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions have caused the season opener to shift to Barber Motorsports Park, which is scheduled to host its race on Sunday, April 11 after being wiped off the calendar as a result of the pandemic in 2020. Those plans remain subject to change.