Meet The Team

Matt Kaulig

The Owner

Matt Kaulig, Owner of Kaulig Racing and LeafFilter North, Inc., has always been passionate and involved in sports. Born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised in Cincinnati, Matt moved to the Chicago area at age 14 where he attended high school. Matt came to Northeast Ohio to attend the University of Akron, where he was a standout quarterback for the Zips. Till this day, Matt remains heavily involved in the Akron Zips community as he provides aid for the school’s football programs and lends a helping-hand in sponsoring events.

Matt met his wife, who was an Akron Cheerleader from Copley, Ohio, during his time at the University of Akron. Falling in love with the area, Matt decided to establish roots in Northeast Ohio when he started LeafFilter Gutter Protection in 2005 from the basement of his home.

Ten years later, his fast-growing company grew from one small office in Hudson, Ohio, to the leading national gutter protection brand with multiple offices that span across the nation from Seattle to Boston. LeafFilter has been recognized nationally by numerous publications, earning awards for being a Top Remodeler in the nation, and receiving recognition for the company’s growth and expansion.

Kaulig brings the same passion and drive to his newest endeavor — NASCAR. As an industry leader, and a recognized, successful entrepreneur, Kaulig has a proven record of developing new ventures that thrive.  In 2016, he founded Kaulig Racing and established the headquarters in Welcome, North Carolina. Setting the team up for success early on, Kaulig Racing joined forces with Richard Childress Racing to create a technical alliance, including the use of ECR engines.

Chris Rice

The President

Native to the racing world since birth, Chris Rice is no stranger to all things NASCAR.  Born and raised in South Boston, Va., Rice grew up at racetracks and around the sport. His mom, Cathy, runs the South Boston Speedway, a racetrack in Rice’s hometown, and also sits on the NASCAR Appeals Board.  When Rice was five years old, his dad, Allan, and uncle started their own race team. Rice immediately started working on the pit crew for his family’s team. This was just the start of Rice’s future NASCAR career.

In 1989, Rice worked as a gasman for the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series, now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He worked closely with Hermie Sadler, who was named Rookie of the year in 1993, and quickly moved on to win a championship in 1995 with Hermie’s brother Elliott. Because of his accomplishments with the Sadler brothers, Rice became a well-known name in the industry. He’s worked in every elite series in NASCAR with over 18 drivers.

In 2000, Rice worked at Richard Petty Motorsports then moved to Bill Davis Racing in 2002. From 2011 to 2015, Rice worked as a Crew Chief at RAB racing for four drivers. In 2015, he moved to NTS as the Competition Director and Crew Chief.

As Crew Chief and General Manager at Kaulig Racing, Rice led the team to 10 top-10 finishes, one pole and three consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff berths.

In his spare time, Rice loves to golf and spend time with his wife Tammy and two daughters, Kelsey and Elizabeth.

Rice still carries the same passion and excitement he had 20 years ago. With a “whatever it takes” attitude and years of experience, he’s driven to continue the success as Kaulig Racing enters their third season in the Xfinity Series.

Justin Haley

Driver

Growing up in the Midwest, Justin Haley currently competes full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro for Kaulig Racing. The Winamac, Indiana native started his racing career at the age of nine when he competed in the Kokomo Quarter Midget Club. Since then Haley has been on the fast-track, for a lack of better words, to NASCAR stardom.

With a couple of Quarter Midget Championships under his belt, Haley burst on to the NASCAR scene in 2014, when he entered his first NASCAR K&N East Series races. 2015 brought another first for the young driver, as he entered his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) events for Braun Racing, a team then owned by his uncle, Todd Braun.

In 2016, Haley recorded his first-ever NASCAR Championship, at the age of 17, by securing the NASCAR K&N East Series title. He then went on to announce that he would compete full-time in the NGOTS in 2017. During his rookie season in the truck series, Haley recorded one pole award, three top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.

2018 was coined a record year for the sophomore driver in the NGOTS. He established his first-ever playoff berth and recorded three wins, nine top-five and 18 top-10 finishes; the next level was on the horizon.

Additionally, during the 2018 NASCAR season, Haley made three starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS). During those three events, he brought home a 12th place finish and he even challenged for the win in his second NXS start, during the July event at Daytona International Speedway.

With experience and the taste of Victory Lane under his belt, Haley will be a force to reckon with as he enters the NXS season full-time in 2019.

Ross Chastain

Driver

NASCAR’s busiest driver, Ross Chastain, is an eighth-generation farmer and fourth-generation watermelon farmer from Alva, Fla. When not working in the field, Chastain competes in all three of NASCAR’s top-tier series, including holding the role as part-time driver of the No. 10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet at Kaulig Racing.

Chastain made his NASCAR debut in 2011 at the age of 18, competing in just five events before transforming the opportunity into a full-time ride in 2012. In his rookie campaign, Chastain earned a best finish of third place at Bristol Motor Speedway after starting in the 15th position. It was then that Chastain caught the eye of fellow driver and team owner Brad Keselowski, who offered the young gun a ride piloting the No. 19 in the NASCAR Truck Series. 

Taking advantage of the opportunity, Chastain collected two pole awards and led 229 laps en route to four top-five finishes – including two runner-up finishes – and seven top 10s. 

In 2014, Chastain made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway and competed in a total of seven races that season, earning a top-10 finish at Kentucky Speedway.  

Success continued for the up-and-coming driver in the 2015-2017 seasons, as he ended each year in the top 20 in the NXS standings. The 2017 season also brought Chastain the opportunity to make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Dover International Speedway, where he earned an impressive top 20 finish, advancing 16 positions from 36th. 

Last season, the Florida native continued his efforts competing full time in both the MENCS and NXS. Chastain earned his first-career win and highest season points standing of 10th place. 

Currently, the 26-year-old driver kicks off his weekends with the Truck Series in the No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado. On Saturdays, Chastain joins Kaulig Racing for select races in the No. 10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet Camaro in the Xfinity Series. Chastain wraps his race weekends with the Cup Series wheeling the No. 15 Chevrolet ZL1. 

Off the race track and farming field, Chastain enjoys spending time with family and friends and being outdoors. 

Anthony James “A. J.” Allmendinger

Driver

AJ Allmendinger is a racing veteran who holds multiple victories among NASCAR’s top-tier series. In 2019, he joined Kaulig Racing to compete in select races for the organization’s part-time No. 10 Chevrolet. Allmendinger is scheduled to make is 400th NASCAR-career start with the team, a milestone that helps represent his successful career which began in 2006.

Allmendinger started his career in karts, winning two International Kart Federation Grand National championships – the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship in 2002 and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship in 2003.

In 2006, the California native shifted gears, making his first start in NASCAR’s top-tier series. Allmendinger earned the nickname “road-course ringer” in 2013 after winning at both Road America and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, his only NASCAR Xfinity Series starts that season.

Allmendinger’s lone NASCAR Cup Series win also came at a road course, Watkins Glen International, in 2014. He competed full-time in NASCAR’s premiere series through the 2018 season before accepting a role on the NBC Sports broadcast team, covering the International Motor Sports Association and NASCAR America.

When not behind the wheel or on camera, the California native enjoys golfing and being a cat dad to Mr. Tickles.

Elliott Sadler

Elliott Sadler has returned to the driver seat to compete for Kaulig Racing in its part-time No. 10 Nutrien Ag Solutions entry at Richmond Raceway (April 13) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (September 14) – after announcing his retirement from full-time racing following the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Throughout his career, Sadler collect four NXS Most Popular Driver Awards, a prestigious honor voted for by the fans.

Sadler began racing at an early age following in the footsteps of his family legacy. After making a name for himself at South Boston Speedway, Sadler a native of Virginia, made the move to NASCAR’s top-tier series competing as an independent until he caught the eye of team owner Gary Bechtel.

Not long after, Sadler joined the Wood Brothers, competing fulltime in the NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 1999. Throughout his Cup Series career, Sadler claimed three victories, eight pole awards and led 1251 laps. His Xfinity Series career tallied 13 wins, 18 pole awards, 106 top-five finishes and 2056 laps led.

In his downtime, Sadler enjoys coaching his kids, Wyatt and Austyn, in baseball/softball, hunting, playing golf and spending time with family and friends.