Kaulig Racing arrived at Nashville Superspeedway on Father’s Day weekend in order to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, but the team also used the opportunity to make a major announcement. Kaulig Racing revealed that they had obtained two charters from Spire Motorsports to go full-time Cup Racing.
As part of the announcement, Kaulig Racing revealed that Justin Haley, the current driver of the No. 11, will make the leap to the Cup Series. Haley will be a full-time driver on a multi-year deal. The team also confirmed that AJ Allmendinger will remain in the Xfinity Series but will also make limited starts in the Cup Series.
“I’m super excited and super proud of these guys sitting up here, and really, everybody at Kaulig Racing,” said team owner Matt Kaulig during a press conference that Heavy attended. “… Super excited for Justin to be with us, again, full-time. Really proud of him for what he has been doing in his career. There are only a handful of guys who have won a Cup race, an Xfinity race, and a Truck race.”
In order to make the new endeavor successful, Kaulig Racing will expand where it works on the stock cars. The team announced during the press conference that they had acquired a second shop.
Haley Has Previous Experience in the Cup Series
A member of Kaulig Racing for the past three years, Haley has primarily competed in the Xfinity Series while racking up three wins in 2020. He also has made limited Cup starts with Spire Motorsports in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Haley has not completed a full Cup Series season during his time with Spire, but he has reached Victory Lane. The driver capped off the 2019 regular season by holding off William Byron and Jimmie Johnson to capture the checkered flag. Haley also registered his first Cup win after starting 34th and working his way through the field.
Since capturing the win at Daytona International Speedway in 2019, Haley has not returned to Victory Lane in the Cup Series. However, he has flirted with the top 10 on two different occasions, including an 11th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in 2020.
Haley will now have the opportunity to pursue wins and trips to the playoffs while driving the Next Gen car and competing in Cup full-time. He will have the support of a talented team and a veteran driver in Allmendinger, who “has bought in” on the idea of Kaulig Racing moving to the Cup Series.
Kaulig Racing is Still Working on Plans for the Second Cup Car
When Kaulig Racing president Chris Rice announced that the team had acquired two charters for the 2022 season, he clarified that both cars would be full-time Cup Series entries. He noted that the requirement for obtaining charters is that they can’t be only part-time.
Rice explained during the media availability that the team is still working on plans for the second car. They are figuring out which sponsors will join Kaulig for the new endeavor. The same goes for the driver. Kaulig did not reveal which driver will join Haley in the Cup Series, only clarifying that it would not be Allmendinger.
Two other options in the building are Jeb Burton, who is competing in his first full-time Xfinity Series season, and Kaz Grala. Burton has 33 Cup starts in his career, primarily with the underfunded BK Racing. Grala, on the other hand, has three Cup Series starts in his career, including two in 2021. He qualified for the season-opening Daytona 500, finishing 28th, and then took sixth place in the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.