Kaulig Racing Post-Race Report | Phoenix Raceway

NASCAR Cup Series Championship

Justin Haley, No. 31 Campers Inn RV Camaro ZL1

  • Justin Haley qualified 35th for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
  • Within the first seven laps of the 2023 finale, Haley moved up three positions from his starting spot. In lap 15, he radioed that his No. 31 Campers Inn RV Chevrolet was loose on entry, especially in turn one. The opening stage stayed green for its entirety, and Haley finished 32nd and one lap down.
  • During the stage break, Haley pitted for tires, fuel and adjustments to help tighten up the No. 31. He started the second stage in 32nd. The first caution of the second stage came out on lap 110. Haley pitted for four tires and fuel. The green flag came back out on lap 117 and remained green until the end of the stage. Haley finished 29th and had just gone down a second lap.
  • During the second stage break, Haley pitted for four tires, fuel and a similar adjustment to the first stop, relaying that the No. 31 Chevy had begun getting free again. Haley made his first green-flag stop on lap 239 for four tires and fuel. The first caution of the final stage came out with 37 laps remaining, and Haley elected to take the wave around to put him two laps down. He restarted 29th on lap 280 where he went on to finish the race.

“We didn’t have the speed we needed to start the race, and that put us behind. We made some good adjustments on pit road and got it better and were able to run well enough to keep us in the top 25 in owners points.” – Justin Haley

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1

  • AJ Allmendinger qualified 32nd for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
  • Allmendinger gained positions on the initial start, making his way up to 28th place within the first lap. By lap nine, he had fallen back to 31st place, reporting he had no grip. Allmendinger battled the handling of his car for the duration of the opening stage and went on to finish 31st. During the stage break, the team made a wedge adjustment and added brake tape to help Allmendinger with the handling of the car.
  • On lap 68, Allmendinger restarted in 33rd place and had taken over 32nd by lap 70. When the caution came out on lap 108, Allmendinger radioed to the team that the last round of adjustments helped, but he needed more front turn. The No. 16 Action Industries Chevy came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to help Allmendinger with front turn. The team restarted in 32nd on lap 116 and by lap 117, Allmendinger had taken over the 31st position. The team continued to battle handling as Allmendinger had lost grip and was struggling with the rear of the car. On lap 154, Allmendinger came down pit road under green to make a big adjustment. Allmendinger went on to finish the second stage in 31st place, three laps down.
  • At the stage break, Allmendinger reported the changes helped tighten the car back up, but the rear of the car was still bouncing through the corner. The team too the wave around and restarted in 32nd on lap 192. On lap 227, the No. 16 Chevy came to pit road under green from 30th place. The team made an air pressure adjustment to help with the rear handling of the car. Allmendinger went on to finish 31st in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway.

“My guys deserved to close out the season on a high note, but we just missed it this weekend. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll take what we learned today, and throughout the year, to keep building for the future.” – AJ Allmendinger  

NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship

Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet Camaro

  • Chandler Smith qualified sixth for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
  • The race opened with two quick cautions, the first of which forced Smith to slow to avoid the spinning No. 7 on lap four. The race restarted on lap 13 after its second yellow, running green for the remainder of the first stage. Smith took fifth on lap 14 and held off a challenge from the No. 00 for the next 13 laps, but he was passed on lap 27. He charged late in the opening stage’s closing laps, catching and clearing three cars by the green-white-checkered to finish third.
  • No. 16 Crew Chief Bruce Schlicker called for a chassis and air pressure adjustment aimed at helping Smith’s lateral drive on corner-exit under the yellow flag pit cycle. The Quick Tie Products crew also changed tires and added fuel during the No. 16’s stop, and Smith restarted on lap 53 in sixth. He lost a position on the restart but passed two cars over the next 34 laps to move into fifth with five to go in stage two. A caution came out, ending the stage with Smith in fifth.
  • After pitting for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment under caution, Smith restarted in sixth on lap 96 but once again lost a spot, falling to seventh. Another caution came out on lap 103, and Smith took the ensuing green from the inside line in seventh. He fired off strongly and forced the No. 16 Chevy in the middle, three-wide to grab third with 91 to go. The night brought cooler temperatures, and Smith began dropping spots, ending up in seventh by the lap-138 yellow. The No. 16 was called back down pit road to make another right-rear adjustment and grab tires and fuel. He restarted seventh, this time in the outside line, with 58 laps remaining. He again sent the car three-wide and into third, but similarly to the last green-flag run, began falling down the order. He was relegated to eighth with 20 laps to go. A caution bunched the field back together on lap 182, and Smith came down pit road for the final time for tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. He restarted in eighth with 12 laps to go but couldn’t find a hole to move forward. The race’s final caution came out on lap 197, setting up an overtime finish. Restarting ninth, Smith moved up one spot to finish the season finale in eighth.

“Once the sun set, we couldn’t quite find the speed we had in the beginning of the race. We made some pretty aggressive adjustments, but with how the restarts played out and the shorter green flag runs, it was hard to take what we learned from our earlier long-run speed and adapt it. I’ve made a lot of memories this season with our No. 16 Quick Tie Products team, and I’m proud that we kept pushing through all the ups and downs, even if we weren’t competing for a championship in the end.” – Chandler Smith

Daniel Hemric, No. 10 Action Industries Chevrolet Camaro

  • Daniel Hemric qualified 12th for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
  • After a quick caution on lap four, Hemric restarted 10th on lap eight. The caution came out again on lap nine. Hemric radioed that he was happy so far with his car before restarting ninth on the outside on lap 12. Hemric made contact on the restart and got a left-front flat. He came down pit road on lap 15 for four tires and fuel, which put him the first car one lap down. Not able to receive the free pass position, Hemric finished the opening stage 37th.
  • At the stage break, Hemric took the wave around and put him back on the lead lap. After restarting 30th on older tires, he tried to keep up with the field but fell back to the first car one lap down again with seven to go in the stage. The caution came out on lap 87 and the stage ended under caution. Hemric finished the second stage 31st.
  • Hemric pitted at the stage break for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He restarted 37th as the first car one lap down. Having new tires on, Hemric started making his way up the field. When the caution came out on lap 103, Hemric was the lucky dog and got back on the lead lap. Under the caution, Hemric also pitted for four tires and fuel before the restart with 91 laps to go. Making massive moves since the restart and happy with the adjustments from the previous pit stop, Hemric was up to 16th with 65 laps to go. The caution came out with 64 to go. Under the caution, Hemric brought the No.10 Chevy down pit road for four tires and fuel. After restarting 10th on the outside with 58 laps to go, Hemric stayed in the top 10 with 25 to go. When the caution came out with 20 to go, strategy call had Hemric come down pit road for right sides only. Hemric became the leader on the restart with 12 to go. The field having fresher tires behind Hemric had him slipping back on the restart. A caution came out with just five to go. Crew Chief called Hemric back down pit road for four tires before restarting 26th. The race ended under overtime after the first attempt at a G-W-C, Hemric finished the race 21st.

“Not the way we wanted to end the season here at Phoenix. Having a left- front flat tire put us behind early on. Proud of this 10 team for never giving up. Looking forward to a reset during the off season and preparing for 2024.” – Daniel Hemric

Derek Kraus, No. 11 Western States Flooring Chevrolet Camaro

  • Derek Kraus qualified 23rd for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
  • The first caution of the day came on lap four after Kraus had moved up two spots from his starting position. He radioed that the No. 11 was better than it had been in practice, and he just needed track position. Just after the restart on lap eight, the second caution of the day came out as Kraus sat 20th. The green flag came back out on lap 13, and Kraus went on to finish the opening stage in 15th.
  • During the stage break, Kraus pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment but was sent to the tail end of the field for the start of stage two due to an uncontrolled-tire violation. After starting 32nd, Kraus made up 10 positions before his right-front tire went down and sent the No. 11 Chevy into the wall with heavy damage. Kraus’ day ended early, and he was scored 37th.

“We blew a right-front tire, which was not a great way to end the weekend. We were struggling a little the whole weekend, but we made the No. 11 Western States Flooring Chevy much better throughout the race. We just lost a bunch of track position from that pit road penalty. After that, I felt like we were decent and could have run in the top 10 until the tire blew. I had a lot of fun racing this year with Kaulig racing and learned a ton. I can’t thank Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice for the opportunity.” – Derek Kraus  

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 Daniel Hemric, the No. 11 Chevrolet driven by an all-star lineup, and the No. 16 Chevrolet driven by Chandler Smith. To learn more about the team, visit kauligracing.com.

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.  As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases for some links and banners that are being displayed on SpeedwayMedia.com.


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