Circuit of the Americas plays host to a NASCAR tripleheader weekend, culminating in Sunday’s running of the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix by the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday. The 20-turn road course in Austin, Texas, is new to all three of NASCAR’s national series, so practice and qualifying sessions are on the weekend schedule. Even so, five Cup Series drivers are among the 39 entrants for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. Cup drivers aren’t allowed to contest the Truck Series race at COTA, also scheduled for Saturday, as that race is part of the Triple Truck Challenge.
Kevin Harvick is slated to drive a #5 Ford for B.J. McLeod Racing. The race will be Harvick’s first in the Xfinity Series since 2018 but the first of three he has scheduled for 2021. He also plans to run Xfinity Series road-course races at Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, both of which also are new to the yearly Cup Series schedule this year.
“I tell all of the drivers we represent at KHI Management that nothing beats seat time, and that goes for me as well,” Harvick said. “I can learn and have some fun, all at the same time. Road-course racing and dirt-track racing is a challenge, and I’m always up for a challenge.”
Another former Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch, also has Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on his weekend docket. Like Harvick, the race will be Busch’s first Xfinity Series race of the season. The all-time winningest Xfinity Series driver, though, is planning to make five Xfinity starts this year, the most allowed for a Cup Series regular. He also plans to contest Xfinity Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, Road America and Atlanta Motor Speedway by the end of July, all from behind the wheel of the #54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota..
One of Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, Cole Custer, also is on the Xfinity entry list for the COTA weekend. He’ll be behind the wheel of the #17 SS Greenlight Racing Ford. The race will be Custer’s first Xfinity Series race since 2019, his third full-time season in the series.
Meanwhile, Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick also plan to contest Saturday’s Xfinity Series race — Dillon in the #77 Bassett Racing Chevrolet and Reddick in the #31 Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet. The race will be Dillon’s first since 2019 but Reddick’s third of the year. Reddick, by the way, claimed back-to-back Xfinity Series titles as recently as 2018 and 2019.
“I appreciate everyone at the Bommarito Automotive Group, Chevrolet and Jordan Anderson Racing for putting this opportunity together,” Reddick said. “I am hopeful that we will be able to have a great run in the Pit Boss 250 at COTA and built some solid momentum moving forward. Between the pairing of the Richard Childress Racing chassis and ECR motors they have, it will be great to get back behind the wheel of a familiar race car in the Xfinity Series.”
Qualifying and racing for the Xfinity Series at Circuit of the Americas are both scheduled for Saturday, with qualifying scheduled for 10:05 a.m. CT and the race at 3 p.m.