Bubba Wallace returns to NASCAR Xfinity Series for first time since 2017

Bubba Wallace will return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend for the first time since 2017.

Wallace, who competes fulltime in the Cup Series for 23XI Racing, will drive Hattori Racing Enterprises’ No. 61 Toyota in Saturday Xfinity race at Michigan International Speedway.

HRE’s Truck series driver, Austin Hill, was originally scheduled to run the race but will instead focus on the start of the Truck Series playoffs Friday night at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Wallace, 27, has 85 career starts in the Xfinity Series, with a best finish of second at Dover, Del., in 2016 while driving for Roush Fenway Racing.

“I’m excited to race again in the Xfinity Series,” said Wallace. “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.”

Wallace has seven starts at Michigan in the Cup Series with a career best ninth-place finish in 2020 with Richard Petty Motorsports.

“We really enjoy running the Xfinity Series but having someone like Bubba step in to help this weekend will let us focus 100-percent on Gateway,” Hill said. “The first race in the playoffs is always important and our team has a great chance to win everywhere we go.

“Being able to focus solely on Gateway Friday night will be helpful for us to get our championship run started on the right foot.”

Team owner Shige Hattori said looks forward to Wallace joining HRE’s Xfinity program.

“It’s great to have him and his Cup Series experience part of our Xfinity program,” Hattori said. “We want to have a strong start to the Camping World Trucks playoffs at Gateway with Austin and have another great chance to compete for a championship.

“This allows both of our teams to be prepared and run well for AISIN, Toyota, TRD, and all of our partners.”

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