Kaulig Racing is making a significant move for 2023. The team has added a third entry for the Daytona 500 as Chandler Smith attempts to qualify for NASCAR‘s biggest Crown Jewel event.
Kaulig Racing teased the news days prior with a look at a new number, 13. On January 18, the team finally answered the questions. It announced that Smith will drive the No. 13 Chevrolet Camaro while attempting to make his Cup Series debut. He will also debut a new primary partner in Quick Tie Products.
In addition to joining Smith for his Cup Series debut, Quick Tie Products will also serve as a primary partner of the No. 16 team for multiple Xfinity Series races.
“Chris and I knew who we had in Chandler when we brought him into our team fold at the end of last year,” Kaulig Racing owner Matt Kaulig said in a press release. “He made such a splash on the Craftsman Truck Series in the last couple years. We have the utmost confidence in his full-time Xfinity Series run this year, and with Quick Tie, we think he will turn some heads in his Cup Series starts.”
Smith’s Schedule Includes Multiple Cup Series Starts
As part of the announcement, Kaulig Racing revealed that Smith will have more than one Cup Series start during his first season with the team. He will run a limited schedule in the top series while primarily focusing on Xfinity Series playoff points.
The Daytona 500 will be the first race on this schedule. Smith will also return to the No. 13 at Richmond Raceway on April 2, the All-Star Open at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 21, the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway on October 1, and the season finale at Phoenix Raceway on November 5.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Smith said. “As a kid, you always have the goal of one day racing in the Cup Series. I’m hoping that comes true in this year’s Daytona 500. I’m thankful for Harvel Crumley and Quick Tie for the opportunity to run in multiple Cup races this year, and I’m beyond appreciative in the belief that Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice have in me.”
The Bluegreen Vacation Duels Will Be Intense
Securing a spot in the Daytona 500 will not be a simple matter considering that there will now be more open cars than openings. Based on announcements alone, there will be 41 cars trying to battle for 40 spots, but there may also be more joining the fray.
The announced open drivers so far are Jimmie Johnson (Legacy MC), Austin Hill (Beard Motorsports), Zane Smith (Front Row Motorsports), Travis Pastrana (23XI Racing), and Smith (Kaulig Racing). The other teams that could compete are The Money Team, NY Racing Racing, and Team Hezeberg.
One team that will not bring an open entry to Speedweeks is Trackhouse Racing. There were rumors that the Project91 car could make an appearance, potentially with Helio Castroneves as a possible driver option.
However, Justin Marks announced on January 17 that the team had taken a look at the Daytona 500 before deciding to focus on the road courses. The focus during the Daytona 500 will remain solely on Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez, the team’s full-time drivers.