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Kaulig Racing Post-Race Report | Kansas Speedway

September 10, 2023

Hollywood Casino 400

Justin Haley, No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1

  • Justin Haley qualified 30th for the Hollywood Casino 400.
  • Although Haley’s No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1 fired off on the edgy side, he was able to quickly gain 10 spots from his starting position and into the top 20. Haley made it as high as 19th before making his first, scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 39 for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. As the green-flag stops cycled through, Haley made it back to 21st before the caution came out on lap 63. As he pitted to put qualifying tires on the No. 31 car to finish the stage, Haley acquired a speeding penalty on pit road, forcing him to start at the rear for the final 11 laps of the opening stage. He gained 10 spots in those 11 laps, finishing the first stage in 22nd.
  • Haley radioed that the No. 31 Chevy was still slightly edgy, but that he felt he was beating everyone on front turn and did not want to risk freeing the car up too much. He pitted for sticker tires and fuel during the stage break, before starting the second stage from 24th. The next caution came out on lap 108 as Haley sat 22nd. He radioed he was happy with the No. 31 Celsius Chevy before pitting for four tires and fuel. Restarting 23rd, another caution came out just after the restart. After restarting 21st on lap 120, the field went green for just seven more laps before the next caution came out. Haley pitted for four tires and fuel and restarted 21st on lap 133. The remainder of stage two stayed green, as Haley worked his way up to finish 16th.
  • Haley pitted once again during the stage break for tires and fuel, before starting the final stage in 18th. The caution came back out quickly on lap 173 for debris. Haley stayed out and restarted 17th with 88 laps remaining. With 70 to go, Haley sat 20th as he radioed the No. 31 Celsius was still trending tight but made it as high as seventh, as the green-flag pit stops began to cycle. Haley made his final green-flag stop on lap 216 for tires and fuel, falling down a lap to the leaders. The final caution came out with seven laps to go, and Haley took the wave around to put himself back on the lead lap. The race went on to finish in an overtime, two-lap shootout, and Haley finished 21st.

“We fired off so strong and gained 10 spots within the first 15 laps. Our No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1 was a little edgy, but I just felt like I could beat everyone on front turn, so I knew I would have to deal with it being a little tight, rather than being too loose and losing that momentum. The biggest difference was the draft, and I think that helped us on speed compared to yesterday during practice and qualifying. Overall, it was a solid day for our No. 31 team.”

– Justin Haley

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Dyna Gro Seed Camaro ZL1

  • AJ Allmendinger qualified 22nd for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
  • Allmendinger was happy with the No. 16 Dyna-Gro Seed Chevy early in the race. Under the first caution on lap four, he reported his car was tight in traffic, but the rear was stable, and his car turned well in clean air. The team opted to stay out under caution and restart in 22nd on lap nine. Allmendinger quickly made multiple passes, making it up to 15th by lap 24. The No. 16 came down pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 36. When the caution came back out on lap 63, Allmendinger was running 13th. He came down pit road under caution and put on qualifying tires for the short run to end the stage and save a set for the next stage. The team restarted 14th on lap 69 and went on to finish 18th in the opening stage.
  • Under the stage break, Allmendinger came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to help with rear grip. The No. 16 restarted in 15th place on lap 87 and drove up for 12th by lap 91. Running 11th when the caution came out on lap 108, Allmendinger told the team the balance in his No. 16 Chevy was really good. The team came down pit road under caution for four tires and fuel and restarted 12th on lap 113. The caution came back out on lap 115 and Allmendinger had driven up to 10th place, where he would restart on lap 119. Allmendinger maintained position until the caution came out on lap 128 and reported he was tighter that run. The No. 16 restarted 14th on lap 132 and fell back to 22nd after getting caught in the middle running four wide. Allmendinger made up positions quickly, taking over 15th by lap 145. The No. 16 came down pit road on lap 151 for an unscheduled pit stop to check the right front, after making contact with the wall. Allmendinger returned to the track and received a pass-thru penalty for too many team members over the wall during the pit stop. He finished the stage 33rd, three laps down.
  • Under the stage break, Allmendinger took the wave around and restarted the third stage in 33rd place and went on to finish in 30th place.

 “I’m really happy with the speed we had in our No. 16 Dyna-Gro Seed Chevy. I’m disappointed with the small mistake there hitting the wall, but I’m really proud of my guys for bringing a competitive car. The speed we’ve had the last couple weeks is definitely encouraging, and we’ll keep gaining on that. ”

– AJ Allmendinger

Kansas Lottery 300

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

  • Derek Kraus qualified 18th for the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.
  • Kraus quickly gained multiple spots and avoided three early cautions in the first 20 laps of stage one. He radioed that he was happy with his No. 11 Hardscape Construction Chevy, making his way into the 10th position, where he finished the opening stage.
  • Kraus pitted for tires, fuel, and minor adjustments during the first stage break. Dropping back to 12th before the first caution of the second stage on lap 60, Kraus bounced back, moving up to seventh before the next caution came out on lap 76. Relaying that he was still happy with the handling of the car, Kraus went on to finish the second stage in eighth.
  • Before pitting during the second stage break, Kraus relayed that he needed to be slightly tighter on entry and to fire off for the final stage. The No. 11 pit crew gained Kraus two spots on pit road to start the final stage. Sitting sixth with 90 laps remaining, Kraus radioed he was a tick loose in his No. 11 Chevrolet. As another caution came out with 63 laps remaining, Kraus radioed that he fired off much better, but gets too free when running up top. He pitted under caution for tires and fuel before restarting sixth with 57 laps to go. The 10th and final caution came out on lap 145 before going green with 50 laps remaining. The race stayed green for the final 50 laps, and Kraus finish eighth, his third top-10 finish with Kaulig Racing this season.

“Today was a good day; we just kind of survived all day. In the first stage, I got into top 10 and got some stage points and then did the same in the second stage. In the third stage, fired off decent but just built too tight in the center and that carried all the way to the edge of the corner. Overall, it was a good day, and I’m looking forward to the next one.” 

-Derek Kraus

Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet Camaro

  • Chandler Smith qualified 12th for the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.
  • Moments after the initial start of the race, the yellow flag waved, and Smith restarted 11th on lap six. On lap 12, Smith reported that the No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet was low on power, and he started losing positions quickly. Once the race’s second caution came one lap later, the team told Smith to bring the car into the garage to work on the engine. The crew replaced the spark plugs, and Smith rejoined the race 13 laps down in 37th. He made up one spot by the time the first stage ended, finishing 36th.
  • The No. 16 team began making adjustments on the car during routine visits down pit road as stage two began. The crew utilized the early engine issues to learn as much as it could for future races. During the short, second stage, Smith continued making up ground, finishing stage two in 34th, 13 laps down.
  • Smith passed two more cars to move into 32nd by lap 156. He stayed there for the remainder of the race, finishing 14 laps down.

“That was a rough one. We were fast once we got back out on the track, but we obviously couldn’t do much because of the time spent fixing our engine issues. We could only pick up spots if others had problems, but points are points, so we used the rest of the 170 or so laps to try out some things and experiment before the playoffs start at Bristol next week.”

– Chandler Smith

Daniel Hemric, No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro

  • Daniel Hemric qualified fifth for the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.
  • By starting the race, Hemric clinched his spot in the NXS Playoffs. After the caution came out on lap one, Hemric restarted fifth on lap six. After a few laps, he reported that the No. 10 Cirkul was loose-handling in turns three and four just after firing back off. On lap 10, Hemric dropped back two spots, sitting in seventh as the next caution came out on lap 14. Restarting seventh on lap 18 and maintaining position before the caution came out again on lap 20, Hemric made his way back up to fifth by lap 29. On lap 32, Hemric fell off the pace, reporting a possible voltage issue before pitting under green to diagnose the issue. The team discovered the power issue and pushed Hemric back to the garage to change the battery in the No. 10 Cirkul Chevy. The team spent the remainder of Stage one and the entirety of stage two changing the battery and addressing the issue. 
  • The No. 10 team sent Hemric back on track under green with 88 laps remaining in the race. Hemric returned to the garage once again on lap 139, as the team addressed another minor issue, before sending Hemric back on track with 57 laps remaining. The team attempted to address the problem again to get back out on track. They were able to send him back out, 75 laps down, with 57 laps left. Caution came out with 52 laps to go, and Hemric pitted for a splash of fuel before the restart on lap 150 where he restarted 35th. Hemric reported that his car was getting progressively looser as the run went on, and pitted under green with 23 laps remaining for tires and fuel. Hemric went on to finish the race 34th.

“We beat ourselves today. It’s unfortunate, because I feel like we had a lot of speed in our Cirkul Chevrolet. We did what we had to do for the regular season, but there is still work to be done. As a group, we have shown we can build great race cars at Kaulig Racing; we just have to clean up all the little stuff.”

– Daniel Hemric



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