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'Ready or not, here we come': Kaulig Racing ready to make NASCAR Cup Series splash

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WELCOME, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – As it prepares for its first full season in Cup, Kaulig Racing has made quite the name for itself.

In just six seasons, they’ve brought home 15 career wins, with 8 of those coming in the 2021 season. The standard is set in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but this season they’re accelerating into uncharted territory with two full-time teams in the Cup Series.

“We’ve been dabbling in it. And getting prepared to be full-time for a couple of years now. So we feel like we’ve done a really good job in the Xfinity Series and want to continue to do that.  But very exciting times to for our drivers and our team and everything to see what we can do full time in that Cup Series,” said owner, Matt Kaulig.

Justin Haley makes his mark in history becoming the first full-time driver in the Cup Series for Kaulig. It’s a moment he’s waited for since he was 9-years-old.  

“They actually gave me my big break three years ago to get into the Xfinity Series so just progressing with them it’s definitely cool. I wouldn’t want to start my rookie season with anyone else,” said Haley.

Kaulig’s driver line-up now consists of 3 of the championship 4 Xfinity drivers.  Daniel Hemric, and Noah Gragson were recently added to the team. They’ll join AJ Allmendinger splitting duties driving the 16 car.

Despite the success the team has had in Xfinity, they know the challenges that await them at the next level. 

“We’re going to have all the tools that we need. That being said it’s the Cup Series it’s the best of the best—you don’t just go to win there even if it’s a brand new car and feel like you’re going to compete every week…so there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs,” said Allmendinger. 

Where those downs are that’s where the unique culture at Kaulig comes in

“It’s the perfect mix to me going out there and being business when we’re at the race track were there to win, but away from that and even at the racetrack at times—the fun side of it—the friendship side of it– the family atmosphere—especially for where I’m at in my career, if it’s not fun then there’s no reason for me to do it,” said Allmendinger.

“Matt Kaulig owns everything. He owns every car. He’s the leader. He’s the motivator. Obviously, there’s Chris Rice in there who manages it all,” said Haley.

“We want to be competitive, right, so you hire the people that make you competitive and the great people but at the same time we work really hard at making sure we have fun,’ said President of Kaulig Racing, Chris Rice.

“When people see that at the race track, they want to be a part of that and I think that’s what we’re seeing at Kaulig Racing.”

So many unknowns lie ahead for Kaulig Racing as they get into their rookie season, but they’ll continue to vie for victory lane. And that starts in Daytona where Haley has 4 wins. 

“I’ve won in a cup car in the summer race and three in Xfinity cars so I’ve always had pretty good odds down in Daytona. I’ve ran one 500 with Kaulig. I think we finished 13th which was their first-ever Cup start in general. I think it’s great,” said Haley.

“You know sometimes even in life it’s like, ‘ready or not, here we come.’ Sometimes you just have to embrace change and that’s what we’ve done and what all the teams have done,” said Kaulig.



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