Allmendinger Wins Back-to-Back NASCAR Xfinity Series Races at COTA
Pit Boss 250 Presented by USA Today
AJ Allmendinger, No. 10 Celsius Chevrolet
- AJ Allmendinger qualified on the pole for the Pit Boss 250 Presented by USA Today.
- Allmendinger dominated the first stage in the No. 10 Celsius Chevrolet leading all 14 laps until the stage break. This was Allmendinger’s 12th NXS road course stage win, making him the series-leader for road course stage wins.
- Allmendinger restarted on the 11th row in stage two and sustained right side damage when the field went five-wide going into turn one on the start. The No. 10 Celsius Chevy did not have a tire rub after this contact, so the team stayed out during the caution and restarted in 25th on lap 22. Charging through the field quickly, Allmendinger came back from over nine seconds back to finish sixth in stage two.
- Restarting on the third row for the third stage, Allmendinger made his way to the front and battled with the No. 17 for the lead.
- He went on to earn Kaulig Racing’s first NXS win of the 2023 season in the Pit Boss 250 Presented by USA Today.
“William Byron is one of the best ones in the sport right now, seeing all Cup races he’s winning. I knew it was going to be tough, I was just trying to fight to get back up to the front there. I’m so proud of everyone at Kaulig Racing. The Celsius Chevy was really hooked up, and with all the damage we had, it didn’t hurt the car. I spent a lot of years not winning anything, so I’m going to celebrate every one of them like it’s my last one. You never know. As much pressure as I put on myself, I’m always going to try to live up to it. The pit crew was awesome, and I’m so proud of everyone on this team.” – AJ Allmendinger
Daniel Hemric, No. 11 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet
- Daniel Hemric qualified 11th for the Pit Boss 250 Presented by USA Today.
- In the opening stage, Hemric had contact early on with the No. 20 car. With minimal damage on the right side, he was able to rebound and finish 13th in stage one.
- After pitting under caution, Hemric gained 12 spots on a restart on lap 22 in the second stage, and went on to finish stage two in 16th.
- In the final stage, Hemric maintained his track position and recorded his career best finish at COTA, coming home sixth.
- Hemric was one of four drivers who qualified for Dash 4 Cash taking place at Richmond next weekend.
“What a battle this weekend was. I put us behind by not getting up to speed quick enough and didn’t do a great job putting together a lap in qualifying. Looking back, had I qualified better I could have been a little ahead of the carnage at the beginning of the race. I have a lot to clean up, but I had a really fast Kaulig Racing Chevy Accessories Camaro. I look forward to going to Richmond and being a part of the Dash 4 Cash.” – Daniel Hemric
Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Chevrolet
- Chandler Smith qualified 27th for the Pit Boss 250 Presented by USA Today but would start at the rear due to an unapproved adjustment prior to the start of the race.
- Smith battled through contact with multiple cars and dealt with minor damage during the first two stages.
- Spotter Freddie Kraft noted that Smith’s biggest area to work on going forward from stage one was to drive through the esses in a straighter line.
- At the end of the second stage, Smith restarted in 18th and was told to save his tires instead of racing for stage points to save his car for the end.
- He finished 12th in his NXS road course debut after adjusting his driving style all 46 laps.
“Our team dealt with a lot throughout the race today. We made contact with a few other cars just trying to learn the track. It was a hard day’s work, and I really appreciate my crew chief, Bruce (Schlicker), guiding me all day while making adjustments to better my understanding of the track. Honestly, 12th is not a bad result, but it’s time to get back in the top five next week at Richmond.” – Chandler Smith
EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix
Justin Haley, No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1
- Justin Haley qualified 23rd for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix
- The first caution flag fell early on lap one, with Haley moving up three spots. Following his first pit stop of the day, Haley was forced to come back down pit road to cut a piece of the splitter that was rubbing his right front tire. He finished the first stage in 35th.
- Haley made it back up to as high as 22nd before the green flag pit stops cycled through, putting him 25th at the end of the second stage.
- During the final stage, the No. 31 car suffered power issues, but was repaired during a pit stop. Haley made it as far as 12th on one of three overtime restarts, was spun, and went on to finish 19th.
“We fought adversity throughout the entire weekend in our No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1. We lacked some speed in practice but were pretty decent in qualifying. We had to pit twice during our first stop and then had a battery issue. We just couldn’t get the track position back until the very end. We made it back up to 12th before we got spun on one of the restarts. With all the issues we fought, a top 20 was not bad for the day.” – Justin Haley
AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Nutrien Ag Solutions Farmsmart Camaro ZL1
- AJ Allmendinger qualified seventh for his 400th NCS start in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix.
- Allmendinger quickly moved through the field to finish third in stage one.
- With the pit strategy, Allmendinger finished 13th in the second stage.
- In the final stage, Allmendinger made it as high as second in the No. 16 Nutrien Ag Solutions FARMSMART Camaro. Two laps short on fuel, the team pitted under caution and restarted on the seventh row. On the restart, Allmendinger got a push from behind resulting in damage that ultimately ended his day with eight laps to go. He was scored 34th.
“Obviously the finish was not what we wanted but I’m really proud of the effort from the start of the weekend. To go from Friday where we were not good at all to being better Saturday. Not sure if our car was race winning, but thought we had a top three, top four call all day. Really disappointed to get caught up in the wreck and not really score any points but trying to take the positives out of it. We know that we can struggle early and find speed in the race car. We definitely had speed the whole race and ran up front. We’ve got to clean up some other stuff, but other than that, just taking the positives to get ready for the next road course and build on that.” – AJ Allmendinger
About Kaulig Racing™
Kaulig Racing™ is a full-time multi-car NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) team, owned by award winning entrepreneur, Matt Kaulig. Established in 2016, Kaulig Racing™ has made the NXS Playoffs consecutively each season since the playoff system started and has won back-to-back regular-season championships. Before becoming a full-time NCS team, Kaulig Racing made multiple starts in the 2021 NCS season and won in its seventh-ever start with AJ Allmendinger’s victory at “The Brickyard” for the Verizon 200 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team expanded to a two-car, full-time NCS team in 2022 with Justin Haley piloting the No. 31 Camaro ZL1, and an all-star lineup featured in the No. 16 Camaro ZL1. Haley will continue to drive the No. 31 full-time in 2023, alongside AJ Allmendinger, who will drive the No. 16 Camaro ZL1. The team will continue to field three, full-time NXS entries; the No. 10 Chevrolet driven by an all-star lineup that will be announced at a later date, the No. 11 Chevrolet driven by Daniel Hemric, and the No. 16 Chevrolet driven by Chandler Smith. To learn more about the team, visit kauligracing.com.