Kaulig Racing Post-Race Report | Darlington Raceway
May 15, 2023
Larson Records Team’s First Win at Darlington Raceway
Shriners Children’s 200
Kyle Larson, No. 10 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet
Kyle Larson qualified third for the Shriners Children’s 200 at Darlington Raceway.
In the opening laps, Larson fell back to sixth place after spinning his tires on the start. Under the first caution on lap four, Larson told the team he was happy with the handling of the No. 10 Chevrolet. Larson quickly moved back up into the top three, asking spotter, Frank Deiny, to relay lap times of the cars he was chasing down. Larson pitted under caution on lap 31, telling the No. 10 team he felt his car was better than others on the long run. Restarting second with two laps remaining in the stage, Larson took the lead and went on to win the opening stage.
In a caution-filled stage two, Larson maintained track position as the leader until the final lap, where he lost a photo-finish battle to the No. 20 car, crossing the line second. The team opted to make a track bar and an air pressure adjustment to help with the balance of the car during the stage break. Larson would restart at the tail of the field following a speeding penalty on pit road.
Restarting 31st on lap 98, Larson climbed through the field and cracked the top-15 by lap 109. He continued to move up through the field, making his way up to sixth before the caution flag came out on lap 124. Following a pit stop for tires, fuel, and an adjustment, Larson took the green from fifth place and had taken over fourth place before the final caution came out on lap 135. Larson restarted as the second car on the bottom lane with seven laps remaining. He took the white flag in second place and made a last-lap pass battling the No. 20 all the way until the final turn to win the Shriners Children’s 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Daniel Hemric qualified 12th for the Shriners Children’s 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Hemric fired off strong and raced in the top 10 for a majority of stage one. After short pitting the end of the stage, Hemric finished the opening stage in the ninth position.
In stage two, Hemric was collected in a wreck on lap 67 with multiple other cars. Hemric pitted multiple times to assess and fix the damage to get back on track. After clearing the Damaged Vehicle Policy (DVP) clock, he pitted once again for a few more adjustments to help the handling of the No. 11 Chevrolet. Hemric fought his way through the field, despite the damage, and finished stage two in the 20th position.
Continuing his charge through the field in the final stage, Hemric was able to maximize and make the most of its day, as Hemric rallied to a 16th-place finish.
Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet
Chandler Smith qualified sixth for the Shriners Children’s 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Smith started the race strong, passing teammate, Kyle Larson, for fourth in the opening laps. As the first stage continued, Smith reported that he was too free. Crew Chief, Bruce Schlicker, said the No. 16 Quick Tie Products crew would take a “big swing” to tighten up the car. Smith went on to finish the opening stage 11th.
On lap 67, Smith was collected in a multi-car wreck ending his day early. Smith was scored 36th.
Justin Haley qualified 22nd for the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway.
Haley noted he was pleased with how the No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet fired off, making it as high as 18th in a few short laps. By lap 25, he felt the car began to lose rear grip. As the first caution came out on lap 38, Haley pitted for tires and an air pressure adjustment, hoping to slow his tire wear. Although happy with the overall handling of the car, the tires continued falling off quickly, and Haley felt his right-front tire cording with 11 laps remaining in the stage. Haley nursed it to the end of the stage, finishing 26th.
The grip in the No. 31 Chevrolet continued to diminish into stage two before Haley made a green-flag-pit stop on lap 135 for fresh tires and a rear adjustment. Haley fell one lap down to the leader before finishing the second stage in 27th.
Following a rear chassis and air pressure adjustment, Haley’s No. 31 Chevrolet continued to trend freer at the start of the final stage but had significantly less tire wear. A caution with 83 laps remaining would put Haley back on the lead lap, as he was the first car one lap down. Haley pitted under caution for tires and adjustments to tighten up the car. Radioing that the changes helped, Haley climbed to 19th before his right-front tire once again began wearing quickly. He made a green-flag pit stop with 46 laps remaining and continued climbing towards the top-10, avoiding multiple, late cautions to finish eighth, his third top-10 of the 2023 season.
AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 BTS Tire & Wheel DistributorsCamaro ZL1
AJ Allmendinger qualified 30th for the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway.
Allmendinger fought an ill-handling race car through out the opening stage. Lacking grip in both ends of the car, Allmendinger told the team the front end of the car felt numb and he was burning off the rear tires. Allmendinger finished stage one in 30th place and the team decided to take a swing on the adjustments and continue to give Allmendinger feedback on what other cars were doing on the track in effort to learn for the future in the second stage.
Allmendinger continued to battle the handling in his race car for the second and third stages. After finishing the second stage 30th, the No. 16 Chevy avoided multiple wrecks in stage three going on to finish one lap down in 23rd place.