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Kaulig Racing Post-Race Report | Darlington Raceway

September 4, 2023

Cook Out Southern 500

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1

  • AJ Allmendinger qualified 16th for the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
  • Allmendinger reported early his No. 16 Action Industry Chevy was plowing tight. Running 16th on lap 18, spotter, Frank Deiny, relayed to Allmendinger he was running top-five lap times. On lap 33, the No. 16 came down pit road for this first scheduled green-flag stop of the race. The team made an air pressure adjustment to help with the handling of the car, and Allmendinger cycled out to 17th place. Allmendinger told crew chief, Matt Swiderski, on lap 56 the rear tires faded quicker this run, and that was his biggest struggle. The No. 16 Chevy came back down pit road on lap 67 for a scheduled green-flag stop. Once the pit-stop sequence cycled through, Allmendinger took over 14th on lap 74, and went on to finish the opening stage 13th.
  • Allmendinger came down pit road under the stage break for tires, fuel and an adjustment. The No. 16 team picked up two spots on pit road and restarted 11th on lap 122. Allmendinger took over 10th on lap 141 and maintained position until coming down pit road under green on lap 152. By lap 171, Allmendinger made it back up to 11th before the caution came out for a track lighting issue in turns three and four. The No. 16 team came down pit road for four tires and fuel before the red flag was displayed on lap 188 to fix the lighting issue. When the field took the green flag on lap 191, Allmendinger restarted 17th and took over 15th on lap 193. Allmendinger told his team track position was critical, and he was stuck in traffic sitting 16th. The caution flag came out on lap 216, and the team came down pit road for tires and fuel. After a slow stop, Allmendinger restarted 20th on lap 221 and made his way up to 17th before the caution came back out on lap 226. The No. 16 came back down pit road, and restarted 18th on lap 229, where he finished the second stage.
  • Allmendinger stayed out under the stage break and restarted 13th on lap 236 before reporting he was tight in traffic on lap 242. The team came back down pit road on lap 266 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to help with the handling of the car. Allmendinger cycled out to 11th where he ran until lap 289 when he fell to 12th place, reporting he needed more rear grip on the next stop. When the next caution came out on lap 310, the No. 16 was running 11th. The team came down pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and an air pressure to help the rear of the car. On the restart on lap 316, Allmendinger was 11th and had taken over 10th by lap 319 when maneuvered around wrecking cars in front of him that brought out another caution. The No. 16 stayed out under this caution to restart eighth on lap 327. Two laps later, the caution came out again while Allmendinger was running ninth, and the team came down pit road for fresh tires and fuel. Restarting in 17th with 31 to go, Allmendinger quickly made up ground, taking over 14th on lap 343 before going on to finish 13th in the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

 
“I’m really happy with the whole weekend our No. 16 team had in Darlington. We made significant improvement from the spring race. Our car had a good amount of speed, and we tried to fine tune the balance all night. This was the best I’ve ever felt in a Cup car and a career-best finish for me at this track. I’m satisfied with our end result.”

– AJ Allmendinger

Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1

  • Justin Haley qualified 29th for the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
  • Haley struggled early with lack of grip but relayed that the No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevy handled well otherwise. By lap 26, Haley sat 27th and radioed that the No. 31 Chevy began handling a little free. He made his first green-flag pit stop eight laps later for four tires and fuel. Once the green flag stops cycled through, Haley maintained position and radioed that the No. 31 was getting very loose. He made his second green-flag stop on lap 70 for fresh tires and fuel. As the stops cycled through again, Haley moved up one position but fell back to 27th, radioing that his brake pedal was going to the floor. He finished the stage in 27th.
  • Haley made his third pit stop of the day under caution for fresh tires and multiple adjustments to tighten up the No. 31 Chevy. Crew chief, Trent Owens, remarked that the tire falloff on the No. 31 was not where it needed to be. He restarted 29th on lap 123. By lap 146, Haley reported more brake issues and made his fourth pit stop on lap 153 for more tires and fuel. The first caution came out on lap 179, as the lights in turns three and four would not turn on. Haley sat 27th two laps down. The team decided to gamble and take the wave around to gain back one lap in the hopes of a quick caution as the race resumed. Unfortunately, the caution did not fall, forcing Haley to pit under green on lap 196 for tires and fuel. The next caution came out on lap 217, and Haley took the wave around to gain one lap back before restarting with nine laps remaining in the stage. The next caution came out for a spin on lap 225, as Haley missed the lucky dog spot by one position. He pitted under caution for fresh tires to try and race for the lucky dog spot. Taking the green for a one-lap shootout, Haley finished the second stage in 30th, and was able to earn the lucky dog spot to put him back on the lead lap to start the final stage.
  • During the second stage break, Haley pitted for fresh tires and fuel and started the final stage in 30th on the lead lap. By lap 251, Haley radioed that his No. 31 Chevy was now tight handling. Haley made his next green-flag pit stop from 19th place, radioing he needed front grip. Cycling out to 29th, Haley’s No. 31 Chevy began trending free once again. The next caution came out on lap 311, and Haley pitted for four tires and fuel. The race went back to green only three laps before the next caution, allowing Haley to pit again under caution for tires and fuel. Haley restarted 27th on lap 327. The field went green for only two laps, as Haley avoided the spinning cars ahead of him. He stayed out under caution and restarted as the first car one lap down in 24th on lap 336. The race remained green until the end, and Haley finished 24th.



“Darlington was tough for us this time by. We lacked grip and fought really free from tire falloff during the first part of the race. We were kind of stuck sitting two laps down and in need of clean air and got really tight before we got free again. At the very end we were able to get the car close and find what we needed for the long runs, but unfortunately it was too late for us to make any gains. We will regroup for Kansas next week.”

– Justin Haley

Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200

Kyle Busch, No. 10 LA Golf Chevrolet Camaro

  • Kyle Busch qualified 14th for the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.
  • Although Busch’s No. 10 LAGolf Chevy fired off loose, he gained three spots before the first caution came out on lap 13. He stayed out under caution and restarted 11th on lap 17. After the first restart, Busch worked his way to eighth, but reported his No. 10 Chevy had begun handling extremely tight. Busch finished the opening stage in eighth place, after a debris caution ended the stage early on lap 44. 
  • Busch pitted during the first stage break for tires, fuel, and multiple adjustments to free up the No. 10 Chevy. When the first caution of the second stage came out on lap 56, Busch reported his tires were much better, but by lap 70, he reported his No. 10 Chevy was plowing tight. Busch dropped back to 12thplace where he finished the second stage, as he battled an ill-handling race car. 
  • During the second stage break, Busch pitted for more of the same adjustments to free him up and give him some front turn. He restarted the final stage in 11th place, but reported he was still battling a tight-handling racecar when the next caution came out on lap 104. Crew chief, Alex Yontz, made the call to pit again for fresh tires and more adjustments, as the team had two sets of tires remaining. Busch restarted 19th with 39 laps remaining. The next caution came out with 14 laps to go, and Busch pitted once again for his last set of sticker tires and an adjustment to continue freeing up the No. 10 Chevy. He restarted 12th with 10 laps remaining before the final caution came out on lap 142, sending the race into overtime. Busch restarted 12th and was able to work his way to ninth in the closing laps, earning a top 10 in his final race with Kaulig Racing.


“Not where we wanted to finish in our last race together. We were super-loose in practice and qualifying and tried to get ahead of it, thinking that’s how our No. 10 LA Golf Chevy would be  during the race, but we ended up plowing tight. Alex [Yontz] and the guys had some good stops and kept trying to free us up as much as they could without losing the rear, but unfortunately, we still fought super-tight. I wish we could have had a better outcome today.”  

-Kyle Busch

Daniel Hemric, No. 11 Cirkul Chevrolet Camaro

  • Daniel Hemric qualified sixth for the Sports Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.
  • Hemric’s No. 11 No.11 Cirkul Chevrolet fired off free, and made contact with the No. 8 car on lap eight before recovering. The first caution came out on lap 13, and Hemric stayed out, restarting seventh. Still fighting a loose-handling No. 11 Chevy, Hemric fell a few positions, but worked his way back to seventh, where he finished the opening stage.
  • At the stage break, Hemric pitted for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment to help tighten the car. On the restart, Hemric restarted 10th where he maintained position until the next caution came out on lap 55. He restarted 10th where he went on to finish the second stage.
  • Hemric came down pit road at the stage break for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. On the restart with 51 to go, Hemric restarted seventh after gaining three spots off pit road. The caution flag flew again on lap 103, and Hemric pitted again for four tires and fuel, gaining two more spots on pit road. On the restart with 39 to go, Hemric restarted 15th and worked his way back into the top 10 before the next caution came out with 14 to go. Under caution, Hemric came down pit road for four tires and fuel. On the restart with 10 to go, Hemric restarted ninth before the next caution came out on lap 143, sending the race into overtime. Hemric restarted 10th, where he went on to finish the race.

“Darlington has always been a place that has been tough on me over the years, especially with my time here at Kaulig Racing. We’re not satisfied with 10th, but we are content with the day we had. It was just a solid day, and we ran between seventh and 10th all day. I’m proud of the grind and of the way we were able to bounce back. It was a good day for us, and I look forward going to Kansas.” 

– Daniel Hemric

Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet Camaro

  • Chandler Smith qualified 10th for the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.
  • The No. 16 fired off tight, but maintained position as the first caution came out on lap 12. Bruce Schlicker, the No. 16’s crew chief, radioed to Smith that he was losing time exiting each corner and to be more patient on the throttle. The race restarted on lap 17 with Smith still in 10th. He gained one spot just before the final caution of stage one came out on lap 43 and finished in ninth.
  • Smith came in for an air pressure adjustment, fresh tires and fuel during the stage break. The No. 16 gained two positions on pit road and restarted in seventh on lap 51. Smith fired off decently but suffered lack of lateral grip, losing two spots before debris brought out a caution on lap 55. Smith restarted ninth on lap 60 and gained two positions over the next 31 laps. He finished stage two in seventh.
  • Another fast full-service stop by the pit crew helped the No. 16 restart in fifth on lap 97 for the final stage. Smith was running in sixth when the next caution came out on lap 103, and he came back down into the pits for fresh tires and to top off on fuel. He restarted in 16th due to pit strategy on lap 109 and took advantage of cars on older tires over the next 24 laps to move into seventh. After another caution came out on lap 132, Smith came back down for another air pressure adjustment, more tires and fuel. The No. 16 restarted seventh on lap 138 and moved back to eighth by the time the final yellow came out to force overtime on lap 142. Smith lost four spots during the final two laps and finished the race in 12th.

“It was a solid day for the No. 16 team and the Quick Tie Products Chevy. We had great pit stops all day long and continued to make handling gains throughout.”

– Chandler Smith

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