In an effort to gain experience and seat time ahead of Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas, a number of Cup drivers who don’t normally compete in Xfinity Series races are making Xfinity cameos on Saturday afternoon. Among them are former Cup champions Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, along with Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer.
Harvick, a two-time champ of NASCAR’s No. 2 division, will make his first Xfinity start since 2018. “I’ve spent a lot of time on iRacing and we’ve had a couple of simulator dates to get prepared for this weekend, one just for basically learning the track and the second for actually trying to go fast enough to be competitive when you get on the racetrack,” Harvick said.
Harvick, who is competing this weekend for BJ McLeod Motorsports, looks forward to being able to make laps at a place where he’s never competed, rather than going into Sunday’s race having only turned laps in a practice and qualifying environment. At the end of the day, Harvick and the other drivers pulling double duty in Austin are simply trying to do whatever they can to gain a leg up and have a competitive advantage over most of the field. “The main reason we decided to run the Xfinity race at COTA, and a couple of the other new road courses, is that being on-track in real-time is the best experience you can get,” Harvick said. “There’s just nothing that can replace reality and being on the racetrack.”