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Kaulig Racing Post-Race Report | Las Vegas Motor Speedway

March 6, 2023

Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube

Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1

  • Justin Haley qualified 27th for the Pennzoil 400.
  • Throughout stage one, Haley reported his No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1 ran a bit tight, but had good balance. Haley climbed into the top 20 before the green-flag pit stops began and ultimately finished the stage 18th.
  • The No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro continued to run slightly tight throughout the second stage but was able to keep his position to finish the second stage in 18th.
  • Haley continued battling a tight-handling No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Camaro ZL1 throughout the final stage and made his final green-flag pit stop with 45 laps left. With four laps remaining in the race, the caution flag fell, and crew chief, Trent Owens, made the call to pit for four tires. The call paid off, and during the final few laps, Haley drove from 16th to finish the race in eighth, earning his first top-10 finish of the season.

“We had a really good long run car today and this is our Fontana car. We’re one of like three teams, three individual cars that repaired our stuff and brought it this week. I’m proud of the effort and the grind. They hung a body in this thing in the snow in Fontana a few days ago. That’s pretty awesome for our little team. I appreciate Matt, Chris, and everyone at Leaf Filter. This was a good run for us, especially with the start of season we’ve had.”

– Justin Haley

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1

  • AJ Allmendinger qualified 21st for the Pennzoil 400.
  • During the first stage, Allmendinger reported his No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1 was tight handling. He went on to finish the opening stage in 20th. The team opted for a longer stop at the end of stage one to make a bigger adjustment to help Allmendinger in traffic.
  • Keeping his track position and gaining one spot, Allmendinger finished the second stage in 19th, as the team continued to make adjustments to the No. 16 Camaro ZL1.
  • After these adjustments, Allmendinger felt confident in the handling of the No. 16 Camaro ZL1 and worked his way up to 11th before the green-flag pit stops began.
  • Unfortunately, on the final restart, Allmendinger spun and finished the race in 18th.

“We struggled with balance all day in our No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1. The team worked hard and “Squid” (Matt Swiderski, Crew Chief) made positive adjustments all day. We got to where we thought we were going to be okay, and we tried to make up some ground on the final restart and just got into a mess.” 

– AJ Allmendinger

Alsco Uniforms 300

Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Chevrolet

  • Chandler Smith earned his first-career NXS pole in only his sixth start for the Alsco Uniforms 300.
  • Smith battled to finish 4th in stage one after leading the first 12 laps. Midway through, he dropped back to follow teammate Daniel Hemric to shake off debris that landed on the grille of the Quick Tie Chevrolet, lowering the rising water temperature.
  • In stage two, Smith once again led a number of laps before his right-front tire blistered near the stage’s end. He finished sixth after 90 laps.
  • Smith led 92 of the final 110 laps, lapping all cars in the field except for the top-12 runners.
  • Smith finished third after getting passed in the closing laps, recording his highest-career finish in the NXS

“That’s a tough one to swallow. There are some things I could have done inside (the car) before we started building tight to get my lead to be a little bit bigger and have a bigger buffer. All in all, I can’t be too disappointed in only my sixth start, my third with Kaulig Racing. We had a really, really fast Quick Tie Chevy Camaro. I’m just really appreciative for everyone at Kaulig Racing for bringing me on board and believing in me.”

– Chandler Smith

Kyle Busch, No. 10 LA Golf Chevrolet

  • Kyle Busch qualified 11th for the Alsco Uniforms 300, but would drop to the rear for the start, after the team made the switch to a backup car.
  • Busch quickly worked his way up to 22nd before the first caution fell on lap four. After telling the team the No. 10 LA Golf Chevrolet fired off well with just a little more rear security needed, Busch went on to finish the opening stage in seventh.
  • Busch noted that his No. 10 LA Golf Chevy became tight-handling in the closing stages of stage two while running in the top three. A caution with two laps remaining ended the stage under yellow, and Busch went on to finish third, the highest of his Kaulig Racing teammates.
  • After picking up three spots on pit road during the stage break, Busch led the opening laps of the final stage and continued in the top five before his No. 10 Chevy began running tight. Busch made his green-flag-pit stop on lap 139 for a full service with adjustments before finishing out the race in fourth place.

“We had a really good LA Golf Camaro after we did a lot of work to it after practice to get it ready for the race today. The car would fire off a little bit loose and then trend so tight. Our biggest focus was just trying to fix the fire off, because that’s where I felt like we were getting beat. We definitely have a lot of ideas and some things to go back to the guys with and try to help get to the bottom of some of my feelings and trying to put it all where we can make these racecars better to give Kaulig Racing a better chance to win. Chandler (Smith) obviously fought the same thing, so if we can fix those things, we will be a lot better.”

– Kyle Busch

Daniel Hemric, No. 11 South Point Chevrolet

  • Daniel Hemric qualified eighth for the Alsco Uniforms 300.
  • Hemric fired off well and stayed close to the top 10 for the majority of the first stage. Although he reported a tight-handling No. 11 South Point Chevrolet, Hemric went on to finish the opening stage sixth.
  • Still fighting tight, the team continued making adjustments to help the handling of the car. Hemric finished the second stage 15th.
  • During the final stage, Hemric’s pace and lap times improved, and he finished the race in 10th place.

“Vegas has come and gone. I’m a little disappointed that we struggled to run in the top 10, but we have something to build on for next time. We improved on a couple issues we had and maximized the day to come home 10th. I appreciate South Point and the entire Gaughan family for being on board and continuing our partnership together. It means a ton to me and our race team. I’m looking forward to continuing to build and heading to Phoenix.”

– Daniel Hemric



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