Kaulig Racing records a pair of top-10 results at Texas

Coming off strong back-to-back races at Kentucky Speedway, Kaulig Racing rolled into Texas Motor Speedway looking to extend their performances and momentum throughout the regular season and towards the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. When the checkered flag flew on Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300, Justin Haley rallied from early handling issues to finish ninth while Ross Chastain, who ran upfront at the start of the final stage, made a late charge to finish in 10th.

Based on a random draw, Chastain, who sported a new white and purple paint scheme while featuring Titan XC on his No. 10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet Camaro, started eighth while Haley started 11th.

When the green flag waved and the race started, both Kaulig Racing competitors raced within the top 10 and 15. Following an early caution for an incident in Turn 4, the ensuing restart was where things nearly got dicey as Chastain made minimal contact with Jeb Burton entering Turn 3, a contact that nearly turned Burton sideways. Nonetheless, both competitors were able to proceed with no damage. Following the contact, Chastain fell back to ninth while Haley moved up to seventh.

By Lap 15, Chastain worked his way back up to eighth while Haley fell back to 11th as he was reporting steering grip issues to his No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro. Two laps later, a single-car wreck on the backstretch drew a competition caution, where both Kaulig competitors remained on track and retained their track positions.

Following the first 30 laps, Chastain was scored in seventh while Haley was back in 12th. Once the first stage concluded on Lap 45, Chastain settled in ninth as he collected a handful of points towards his quest in making the Playoffs. Haley, however, had fallen back to 16th while continuing to deal with steering issues towards the left front of his car. Under the stage break, both pitted along with the field as Chastain exited ninth while Haley was back in 19th.

For the start of the second stage, Chastain was able to carve his way up to sixth. Not long after, he made a bold three-wide move on the backstretch against his fellow Xfinity Series contenders to move into fourth as he made his first appearance in the top five. Just past the 60-lap mark, the caution waved due to debris. With Chastain in fourth, Haley pitted from 15th place for adjustments and to have his No. 11 Chevrolet loosened up.

The race proceeded with 18 laps remaining in the second stage. Shortly after the restart, Chastain received a bump from Chase Briscoe entering Turn 4, which caused Chastain to slip as he made contact with the outside wall and lost his momentum. Following the contact, Chastain fell from fourth to 18th. A few laps later, the caution fell due to another single-car wreck. Under caution, Chastain made a pit stop for fresh tires and to have the damage repaired. Haley, who was in 14th, also pitted for more adjustments to his car.

With 12 laps remaining in the second stage, both Kaulig Racing competitors restarted outside the top 20. When the racing under green proceeded, both wasted no time methodically working their way back towards the top 10. Ultimately, they could not keep pace with the leaders as Haley was scored in 14th while Chastain was in 16th when the second stage concluded. Under the stage break, Haley pitted while Chastain remained on track and moved into the runner-up spot, where he started alongside rookie Anthony Alfredo.

When the final stage commenced under green, Chastain moved into the lead as he led three laps before he was overtaken. Three laps later, he was back in seventh, reporting tight conditions to his Camaro, while Haley moved up to ninth. Through another caution for another single-car incident and the ensuing restart, both Kaulig competitors remained on track inside the top 10. Less than 90 laps remaining, Haley overtook teammate Chastain for position when another caution for another incident flew, an incident that occurred just in front of both Haley and Chastain. Under caution, they pitted and Haley moved into third while Chastain fell back to 20th.

With 78 laps remaining, the race restarted and Haley, who was in the top five for the first time all afternoon, was in fourth. As the race progressed, he fell back to 10th while Chastain was able to work his way back to ninth. Both were among 14 competitors running on the lead lap with less than 45 laps remaining. Then, pit stops under green commenced when Haley veered his No. 11 Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. By the time his service was complete and he returned to the track, he was in 16th and a lap behind the leaders. Chastain, however, continued to run and stretch his fuel to its fullest.

With 20 laps remaining, Chastain was in the runner-up spot and trailing Briscoe by more than 23 seconds, both of whom needing a final pit stop to complete the race. Five laps remaining, Chastain made his pit stop under green. When he returned, he was back in 12th while Haley raced his way back to eighth despite reporting tight conditions to his car.

Both Kaulig competitors appeared to have top-15 results wrapped up when the caution flew with six laps remaining for a single-car incident in Turn 1. At the time of caution, Haley received the free pass to return on the lead lap after being posted the first car a lap down. Chastain, however, was still trapped a lap behind the leaders, but in position to gain a handful of positions for a top-10 result.

With the race restarting into overtime, both Kaulig competitors proceeded to finish in the top 10. For the final two laps, Haley settled in ninth while Chastain, a lap behind, was able to pass Brandon Brown and Jeremy Clements to finish 10th when the checkered flag flew.

Nearly an hour after the race was complete, where initial winner Kyle Busch was disqualified for failing post-race inspection and Austin Cindric was declared the official winner, both Kaulig competitors moved up a spot in the scoreboard. With that, Haley moved up to eighth while Chastain ended up in ninth.

The Texas race marked the 10th time this season where both Chastain and Haley finished in the top 10. The top-10 result was Haley’s 11th of this year’s Xfinity Series season. With his 14th top-10 result of this season, ninth in a row, Chastain remains in fourth place in the regular-season standings and is 297 points above the top-12 cutline towards making the Playoffs.

Chastain and Haley, along with their fellow Xfinity Series competitors, will return for the next Xfinity Series scheduled race at Kansas Speedway on July 25, which will air at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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