On Monday, Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE) announced that Bubba Wallace will drive the team’s No. 61 AISIN Toyota Supra in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The reason is due to Austin Hill because he was originally scheduled to compete at MIS, but the move will now allow him to focus on the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs at World Wide Technology Raceway on Friday night instead.
A fellow member of the Toyota Racing family, Wallace brings 85 races worth of NXS experience to the HRE team with two NXS starts at MIS and a career-best finish of ninth in the Irish Hills. In addition to his NXS experience, Wallace has seven starts in the Irish Hills in the NASCAR Cup Series with a career best ninth-place finish and three Camping World Trucks starts, including a win in 2017. Wallace is currently battling for playoff contention in the Cup Series for 23XI 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.”
“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 Gateway,” Hill said. “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 Gateway Friday night will be helpful for us to get our championship run started on the right foot.”
Team owner Shige Hattori looks forward to Wallace joining HRE’s NXS program and starting the Camping World Trucks playoffs strong with Hill and the No. 16 team.
“We appreciate Bubba and are excited to have him drive our AISIN Toyota Supra,” Hattori said. “It’s great to have him and his Cup Series experience part of our Xfinity program. 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.”