The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head to Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, marking a first in stock car racing history. This track is foreign territory to the majority of drivers, and multiple Cup Series contenders have decided to get some early laps. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick among others will compete in the Xfinity Series race.
NASCAR released the entry list for Saturday’s race, confirming that 43 cars are currently set to compete. The list of notable names includes Busch, Harvick, Cole Custer, Austin Dillon, and Tyler Reddick. All of the drivers will practice in the Xfinity Series cars on Friday before qualifying and racing on Saturday. They will also practice in their Cup Series cars on Saturday before qualifying and racing on Sunday.
Busch is a mainstay in Xfinity Series races, starting multiple every single year. Harvick, on the other hand, hasn’t made an Xfinity Series start since 2018. He started five races, finishing top-five in two of them and winning at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Though Harvick crashed in his final Xfinity Series start of the season, which took place at Daytona International Speedway.
Reddick Will Make His Third Xfinity Series Start of 2021
A two-time Xfinity Series champion, Reddick now competes full-time in the Cup Series while driving for Richard Childress Racing. He took a season off from the racing series after moving to Cup but has since returned. Reddick started two races earlier in the 2021 season, once at Homestead-Miami and once at Las Vegas. Though NASCAR officials disqualified him after he failed inspection in Florida.
Reddick will now join his peers at another road course, albeit a decidedly different one. The RCR driver has made starts at the Daytona Road Course, the Charlotte Roval, and Watkins Glen during his time in Xfinity and Cup. However, COTA poses an entirely different challenge.
Turning in a top finish will require a near-perfect performance at the unfamiliar track, and Reddick will be able to build toward this goal during the practice and qualifying sessions. He and the other drivers will head out on Friday and drive around the 3.426-mile track before trying to post the fastest time on Saturday.
A Road Course ‘Ace’ Will Join the Xfinity Series Lineup
While several of the starters on Saturday will hail from the Cup Series ranks, another will make his Xfinity Series debut for a different reason. JD Motorsports with Gary Keller announced on Monday that veteran driver Spencer Pumpelly will make his debut in the stock car series, bringing considerable experience on road courses. He will replace regular driver Ryan Vargas in the No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro for the COTA race.
A 20-year veteran in motorsports, Pumpelly has competed in several difficult races during his career. He has competed in the 24 Hours of LeMans four separate times and has won the Rolex 24 at Daytona twice. Pumpelly has only competed in one stock car race during his career, making a start in the ARCA Menards Series. However, he has two IMSA victories at COTA on his resume.
“I am very excited for this opportunity to drive for Johnny Davis and work with all the guys at JD Motorsports,” Pumpelly said in a press release. “I have been racing for 25 plus years and have had the opportunity to drive some really cool cars at places like LeMans and Daytona, but I’ve always said the most fun I’ve had in a car was racing stock cars on road courses. This will be my first Xfinity start so I know it will be a tough challenge but with the help of the guys on the team I’m sure we can get up to speed and be competitive.”
The Xfinity Series race at Circuit of the Americas will take place on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. FS1 will broadcast the action with Adam Alexander leading the coverage. PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide audio coverage of the race.