Scott Heckert will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut Sunday in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at the Daytona International Speedway road course, the second points-paying race of the 2021 Cup Series season. He’ll be behind the wheel of the #78 Live Fast Motorsports Ford, co-owned by B.J. McLeod and Matt Tifft.
“This is a special moment for me and it’s even better that I get to drive for two of my close friends,” Heckert said. “It’s been great getting to witness B.J. and Matt build this new team and I’m honored to represent them at their first road-course race.”
In addition to being team co-owner, McLeod also is the regular driver of the #78. He was on the preliminary entry list to drive the car in Sunday’s race, and NASCAR’s formula for setting the race starting grid put McLeod and the #78 in the 19th starting spot. As a result of the driver change, though, Heckert will likely have to start in the back.
Heckert has contested 10 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, seven of those in a car owned by McLeod. In a McLeod-owned car, he finished 19th at the Daytona road course last season. He has a best-career Xfinity Series race finish of 13th at Watkins Glen International in 2019.
Heckert also is a four-time winner in 46 races in the NASCAR regional series formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East. Three of those wins came on road courses.
“We are so excited to have Scott driving for us at the Daytona road course,” McLeod said. “He’s an absolute wheel-man on road courses, and his stats show just that.”