The 2019 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year proved enormously adept at oval racing in his two IndyCar seasons at Dale Coyne Racing scoring fourth places at Texas, Pocono and Gateway in 2019, and at the Indy 500 in 2020, in the DCR with Vasser Sullivan car. Indeed, the Gateway ’19 race Ferrucci would likely have won until a caution flag ruined his strategy.

However, the 22-year-old from Woodbury, CT, has now joined Sam Hunt Racing and Toyota Racing Development, and is due to make his race debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 27. The plan is to focus on 1.5-mile tracks for now.

“Santino’s passion and drive was apparent the first time we sat down together,” said team owner Sam Hunt. “I had heard about him, seen some stories from open wheel, but waited to form my opinion until we spent some time together one on one.

“He’s a great kid. He’s passionate, and he’s ready to learn the racecraft of NASCAR. He’s situationally aware and works hard for every sponsor and investor he has.

“I have no doubts that he will be a strong competitor for us once he learns how these heavy cars drive, and how these races run. We are all excited to get to work with him.”

Ferrucci commented: “I’m incredibly proud to join Sam Hunt racing and TRD. I think together we will have a ton of success.

“Working with Sam these past few weeks has been fantastic and his drive to put out a great racecar and team is second to none.

“The transition to NASCAR will be tough especially with no practice, qualifying, or testing but I welcome the challenge. My limited experience before the green flag in Miami will be the Chili Bowl and my Super Late Model test.

“So far everyone at NASCAR and the people that make up the NASCAR community have been very welcoming to me. The testing that I’ve done has gone really well, and I am excited to start racing!”

Asked if Ferrucci might return to the Coyne/Vasser Sullivan car for an oval-only program, team co-owner James Sullivan told Motorsport.com only that he, Jimmy Vasser and Dale Coyne were “evaluating every option”.