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Cup race 'bucket list' event for Supercars' Cam Waters

Sunday's Cup race at Sonoma will simply be another week of the schedule for full-time drivers. For Cam Waters, it's a special event.

"Let's build a bucket list, to be honest," Waters said Tuesday about his decision to take on NASCAR. "Like come over and do a NASCAR race. It's pretty awesome.

"And to get to do it on a road course, in a car that kind of makes a little bit more sense to me, is going to be pretty special as well."

Waters is one of multiple Supercars drivers to make the move to NASCAR. Shane van Gisbergen won his Cup Series debut last season and then joined Trackhouse Racing on a development deal. Van Gisbergen drives full-time in Xfinity for Kaulig Racing while making sporadic Cup starts.

Brodie Kostecki made his NASCAR debut last season with a one-off start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Richard Childress Racing. Will Brown, who leads the Supercars point standings, will make his NASCAR debut this weekend at Sonoma with RCR.

Sunday's Cup race will not be Waters' first start in NASCAR. He made his debut earlier this season with a Truck Series start at Martinsville Speedway. He then returned to the series at Kansas Speedway.

As Waters explained, moving to NASCAR was something he has long wanted to do even though his focus remains on racing full-time in Supercars.

Two-time Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose had an obvious influence on Waters and other drivers considering that he made the move to NASCAR in 2006 and won seven races across Xfinity and Cup.

But other factors led to Waters making a move of his own.

"I raced in a sprint car, oval stuff back home," Waters said. "Dirt oval, 410 sprint car. I guess that's part of the appeal to come over here and do some oval racing.

"And then NASCAR is a pinnacle (top-10) category in the world. So to come over here and race in a car which is similar to what I do back home is where the appeal comes from."

NASCAR had its supporters in Australia and New Zealand, which increased during Ambrose's time competing in the United States. The coverage faded a bit after Ambrose's final start in 2014 but it has since increased exponentially with van Gisbergen competing across the national series.

According to Waters, the NASCAR coverage in Australia and New Zealand now includes all three national series whereas it used to only feature Cup races.

"I think there's definitely been more of an appeal now that there's Shane over here and myself and Will doing a few races," Waters said.

This coverage will continue this weekend with two active Supercars drivers and one former Supercars driver in the lineup at Sonoma. Fans will follow van Gisbergen as he attempts to win his second consecutive road course race in Xfinity. They will watch as Brown and Waters make their Cup debuts on Sunday.

There is no denying that Waters and Brown face raised expectations heading into this weekend, and for good reason. Ambrose won multiple Cup races during his career. Van Gisbergen won his Cup debut and an Xfinity race.

Several other drivers from Australia and New Zealand have achieved success across multiple racing series. This includes Scott Dixon, Scott McLaughlin, Will Power, Marcus Armstrong, and Oscar Piastri.

Waters knows of this history of success, but that doesn't mean he believes he will immediately come into the NASCAR Cup Series and win his debut. What it does do, however, is set him up for an intriguing weekend of racing as he checks an item off his bucket list.

"(The success is) not kind of putting any expectation on the weekend, but it's probably a little bit of confidence that we can come over and mix it with the top level (of drivers)," Waters said.