Sean Gardner | Getty Images
Sean Gardner | Getty Images

Bubba Wallace to sub for Hill at Michigan in first Xfinity start since 2017

Hattori Racing Enterprises announced Monday that Bubba Wallace will drive the team’s No. 61 Toyota this weekend in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition at Michigan International Speedway.

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Wallace, a Cup Series regular for 23XI Racing, is set for his first Xfinity Series start since 2017 in Saturday’s New Holland 250 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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

Austin Hill was initially scheduled to drive the HRE car in Saturday’s 250-miler, but will instead concentrate his energies on Friday’s postseason opener for the Camping World Truck Series at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Hill enters Friday’s Toyota 200 (9 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) as the second seed in the series’ 10-driver playoff field. He has made three part-time starts in the Xfinity Series this year in Shigeaki Hattori’s No. 61 entry.

“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.”