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Kaulig Racing Post-Race Report | Bristol Motor Speedway

September 17, 2023

Bass Pro Shops Night Race

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Barger Precast Camaro ZL1

  • AJ Allmendinger qualified 22nd for the Bristol Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • In the early laps, Allmendinger fell back to 31st reporting he was plowing tight and lacking front turn. The No. 16 brought out the first caution on lap 70 after hitting the wall in the exit of turn three and making contact with the No. 2. The No. 16 team brought the car down pit road to assess and repair the damage before Allmendinger restarted in 36th on lap 75. On lap 107, the caution came out for rain, and the team came down pit road for air pressure and wedge adjustments to help with the handling of the car. Allmendinger restarted 35th on lap 113 and was racing the No. 78 for the lucky dog. The No. 16 went on to finish the opening stage in 34th and was awarded the lucky dog, putting Allmendinger back on the lead lap. The team came down pit road under the stage break for additional wedge adjustments before the red flag was displayed for weather.
  • The red flag was lifted, and the field restarted on lap 141. Early in this run, Allmendinger was tighter than he had been all night, but by lap 205, the No. 16 Barger Chevy had built free. Allmendinger held on to his loose race car and went on to finish the second stage in 34th.
  • The team came down pit road under the stage caution for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Allmendinger restarted 30th where we ran for the remainder of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race and finished 30th at Bristol Motor Speedway.

 
“It was a long night for our No. 16 team. We struggled early with handling and definitely hurt the speed of the car after we hit the wall. I’m proud of my guys for their effort all night but we’re disappointed with the result.”

– AJ Allmendinger

Justin Haley, No. 31 Mountain Dew Camaro ZL1

  • Justin Haley qualified 19th for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • Haley fired off slightly free in the No. 31 Mountain Dew Chevy but gained three spots before the first caution came out on lap 70. Haley pitted for four tires and fuel and restarted 22nd on lap 77. The next caution came out on lap 107 for rain, as Haley gained four spots. He radioed that he was happy overall with his No. 31 Chevy but was slightly free on entry and exit. Haley restarted as the sixth car on the outside with 12 laps to go in stage one. He made it up to 11th before getting caught in multiple three-wide battles, ultimately falling to 20th where he finished the opening stage.
  • Haley pitted under caution for four tires and fuel and restarted 33rd on lap 141 after rain prolonged the first stage caution. By lap 214, Haley was caught by the leader and radioed that the No. 31 Chevy was plowing tight as he went down one lap. He went on to finish the second stage in 27th. 
  • Haley pitted for tires, fuel and a right-rear air pressure adjustment to help free up the No. 31 Chevy. He started the final stage in 32nd before a wreck in front of Haley collected him on lap 263, ending his night early. He was scored 35th.



“I was really happy with the No. 31 Mountain Dew Camaro ZL1 firing off tonight. We were just a touch free until our right front went away in the second stage. After that the car was plowing tight. Unfortunately, we got collected in someone else’s mess at the beginning of the final stage and broke something in the left front. Hopefully we can rebound in Texas, where we had one of our best finishes as a team last year.”

– Justin Haley

Food City 300

Daniel Hemric, No. 10 Cirkul Chevrolet Camaro

  • Daniel Hemric qualified fifth for the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • Hemric’s No.10 Cirkul Chevrolet fired off extremely loose as soon as the race started. Similarly to practice and qualifying, he reported he was loose all around. Hemric was running 12th with 30 to go, where he went on to finish the opening stage. 
  • Under the stage break, Hemric came down pit road for four tires, fuel and a major air pressure and track bar adjustment to help tighten the car up. He restarted 12th on lap 96 and would maintain his position inside the top-15 before the caution came out on lap 149. Hemric radioed that the previous adjustments had helped the handling of the car but he was still on the freer side. Still under caution, he came down pit road on lap 151 for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. After restarting 11th on lap 154 with fresh tires, Hemric was back up to seventh with 12 to go. He went on to finish seventh, following a stage-ending caution.
  • Hemric pitted again during the stage break for four tires and fuel, before starting the final stage in 10th. The caution came out on lap 221, and Hemric stayed out, while a majority of the field came down pit road. On the restart with 76 laps to go, Hemric restarted as the first car on the inside lane. Battling with the No. 7, Hemric held on to second as 69 laps remained. The caution came out again on lap 248, and the leader pitted, while Hemric stayed out. Hemric led the field to green from the outside on the restart with 44 to go. After leading a total of 33 laps, Hemric got caught up in lapped traffic and slid back to second with 12 to go. The race stayed green until the end and Hemric finished second, his third runner-up finish with Kaulig Racing this season. 


“There is always something you could have done better, or different. I really just wanted to keep him [No.7] on us to get that last little group of lapped traffic we were closed in on. When you catch those guys side by side, you have a slight chance, but I just could not stay far enough forward and keep the momentum from center exit enough to give me some leverage to get into lapped traffic. Ultimately, that prevailed for him [No.7] on the bottom to clear me. You hate to lose them that close to the end, but as a group, we know what we did today was special from how far we brought this race car throughout the race. I am proud of that.”

– Daniel Hemric

Chandler Smith, No. 16 Barger Precast Chevrolet Camaro

  • Chandler Smith qualified fourth for the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • Smith jumped to second quickly at the start of the race but began falling back as the first stage progressed. He was passed for second by the No. 20 on lap 14. Six laps later, a group of three cars moved him off the bottom line, which was the preferred line early in the night, and he struggled to get back to the bottom before being shuffled back to fifth. Smith dropped two more positions by lap 65 but began running quicker lap times in the final laps of stage one. He finished sixth in the opening stage.
  • Smith said during the stage caution that he was too free and needed front grip. Crew chief, Bruce Schlicker, made a big swing with adjustments to tighten the car up as he pitted for tires and fuel. Smith started stage two as the fourth car on the inside but fell back to ninth overall on the restart. Over the next 52 laps, Smith shuffled between eighth and 10th, the latter of which he was running when the caution came out on lap 147. Smith came down pit road for tires and fuel, getting a left-rear air pressure adjustment as well. He started 14th on the lap-154 restart and moved up the ninth with four to go after battling cars on different tire strategies. Another yellow flew, ending the stage with Smith running ninth.
  • Smith stayed out during the stage break and restarted the final stage in third. He moved up to second quickly and battled the No. 88 for the lead before getting tight and falling to fourth. Another caution came out on lap 184, and Smith, who was still battling a loose car, restarted with 110 to go on the outside in the second row. After firing off well, the No. 16 Barger Precast Chevrolet got free mid-corner on lap 197, sending Smith up the track but avoiding the wall. He lost four spots, moving back to eighth. Another caution brought out the yellow again on lap 217 with Smith running 10th. Schlicker called him into the pits for tires and fuel for the final time. He restarted 13th with 76 to go and slowly made his way to seventh when the final caution came out on lap 248. He stayed out, restarting as the third car on the inside on lap 257. Moving up to fifth overall by the next lap, Smith fought to break into the four-car battle for the lead in the waning laps but couldn’t get by the No. 00 that was in fourth. Dealing with a loose-handling race car all night, Smith finished the race in fifth.

“We put a lot of eggs in one basket coming here, and if we didn’t have our issues, I think we would have been a top-three car all night. We caught some breaks and recovered well. We’re leaving here 18 points above the cutline, and that’s not a bad buffer to have. We just have to maintain that through the next two races.”

– Chandler Smith

Derek Kraus, No. 11 Hardscape Construction/Crav’n Chevrolet Camaro

  • Derek Kraus qualified 18th for the Food City 300 but started at the rear, due to an unapproved adjustment.
  • Kraus fired off free in the No. 11 Hardscape Construction / Crav’n Chevrolet. He was passed by the leader to go one lap down on lap 33, but fought the other lapped cars to finish the opening stage in 22nd. 
  • Kraus radioed that he was extremely free on entry and could not drive the No. 11 car as hard because of it. He pitted during the stage break for a big air pressure swing and a track bar adjustment, starting the second stage as the first car one lap down in 21st. The first caution came out on lap 147, and Kraus relayed that the adjustments made during the first pit stop helped his center exit, but the No. 11 Chevy was still free on entry. Crew chief, Jason Trinchere, made the call to pit under caution with the intention of taking the wave around at the end of the stage to put Kraus back on the lead lap. The field went green with 17 laps left in the stage, before a stage-ending caution came out with three laps to go. Kraus finished the second stage in 16th place.
  • Kraus was unable to take the wave around but started the final stage in 16th place. The caution flag came back out on lap 184, as Kraus sat in the lucky dog spot, allowing him back on the lead lap. He pitted under caution and restarted 16th on lap 191. By lap 208, Kraus made his way into the top 15 for the first time of the night. The next caution came out on lap 218, and Trinchere made the call to pit for the team’s last set of sticker tires. Kraus restarted 15th on lap 224. By lap 241, Kraus made his way into the top 10 before the caution came out on lap 249. Following the restart, Kraus made it as high as seventh before dropping back to 12th where he finished the race.

“Overall, it was a fun night at Bristol. We got caught a lap down early, which hurt us throughout the race. We were fighting all night to get our lap back, and when we did, we were able to get going and stayed around the top 10. At the end, my tires started to go away on me. Thankfully, we kept our Hardscape Construction / Crav’n’ Chevy in one piece and had a solid finish.”

– Derek Kraus

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