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Kaulig Racing Post-Race Report | Richmond Raceway

April 3, 2023

Smith Wins First-Career NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Richmond

ToyotaCare 250

Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet

  • Per the rulebook, Chandler Smith started eighth in the ToyotaCare 250, as qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather.
  • Smith raced up to the lead early, and went on to win stage one.
  • In stage two, Smith’s drive off the corner kept him in front of the field for the majority of the stint. Near the end of the 75-lap green flag run, he started losing speed and dropped to fourth, where he finished stage two.
  • Another long, green-flag run in the final stage led to Smith falling off the pace of the leader by six seconds before a timely caution came out, setting up a 23-lap sprint to the checkered flag.
  • Smith took second place before another caution came out, and on the next restart, he took the lead.
  • The final yellow flag waved with Smith in the lead, restarting with six laps remaining.
  • Smith and John Hunter Nemechek fought for the win, and Smith won the battle, earning his first-career NXS win.

“This feels great. It’s a testimony to what happened in Las Vegas. We dominated that race, and didn’t win it. It was all in God’s timing. He said something great was coming. Here we are at Richmond, my favorite race track, sitting in Victory Lane. I’m super thankful for Matt Kaulig, Chris Rice, and everyone at Kaulig Racing – this is unbelievable.”

– Chandler Smith

Derek Kraus, No. 10 International Order of T. Roosevelt Chevrolet Camaro

  • Per the rulebook, Derek Kraus started 11th in the ToyotaCare 250, as qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather.
  • Kraus raced up to seventh prior to the competition caution on lap 37.
  • At the competition caution the No. 10 was fighting tight and lacked front-end drive. Crew chief, Alex Yontz, called Kraus to pit road for adjustments under caution.
  • Restarting ninth, Kraus spun his tires on the restart shuffling him back to 14th where he finished the opening stage.
  • Continuing to battle a tight-handling Chevy Camaro, Kraus and his team worked on his line and restart approach, all while making subtle air pressure adjustments during each of the four pit stops throughout the race. He finished 12th in the second stage.
  • Kraus went on to earn a top-10 finish in his NXS debut.

“I am excited with how today went in my Xfinity Series debut. We had a solid car all day, just a little bit on the tight side. I learned how important restarts and track position are throughout the race. Overall, I am very happy with how the race went, and I am looking forward to the next one. I can’t thank Kaulig Racing enough for the opportunity!”

– Derek Kraus

Daniel Hemric, No. 11 Cirkul Chevrolet

  • Per the rulebook, Daniel Hemric started fifth in the ToyotaCare 250, as qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather.
  • Despite a free handling car, Hemric’s No. 11 Cirkul Chevrolet had speed in the opening stage. He went on to finish the stage in seventh.
  • During the second stage, Hemric battled an ill-handling No. 11 Chevrolet, radioing that he could not turn the car. He fell back to 27th where he finished the second stage.
  • The team continued to diagnose the issues during the final stage, but Hemric eventually fell one lap down. He went on to finish the race in 24th.

“It just was not our day. We had a fast No. 11 Cirkul Chevrolet early on, but we just had some issues that we never could diagnose. Hopefully we can identify what went wrong as we regroup and head to Martinsville.”

– Daniel Hemric

Toyota Owners 400

Chandler Smith, No. 13 Quick Tie Products Camaro ZL1

  • Chandler Smith started 37th in the Toyota Owners 400, as qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather.
  • Smith lacked lateral grip throughout the opening stage, and the No. 13 Quick Tie Products crew made air pressure adjustments to help the car’s drivability.
  • Smith went one lap down over the second stage’s long, green-flag run.
  • In the final stage, the caution came out on lap 373 and allowed Smith to take the wave around, putting him back on the lead lap.
  • Another caution came out on the restart, giving the No. 13 team a chance to get fresh tires for the final short run of the race.
  • Smith passed five cars on the final restart with 14 laps to go and finished 17th.

“In the first half of the race, we struggled with the balance of the car, with both dirty air and getting in clean air. We kept working on it, and my crew chief, Eddie (Pardue), and the pit crew made adjustments that eventually helped the car get better. I hate the fact that the race was only 400 miles. I wish it was 800, because we were really good in the end. It was a good learning curve for myself and this Kaulig Racing team.”

– Chandler Smith

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Per the rulebook, AJ Allmendinger started 25th in the Toyota Owners 400, as qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather.
  • At the competition caution, Allmendinger told crew chief, Matt Swiderski, the front end of his No. 16 Action Industries Camaro was tight and needed rear grip. The team made air pressure and wedge adjustments to help with the handling of the car.
  • At the end of stage one, Allmendinger felt on-top of the racetrack and wasn’t able to get into the throttle. The team came down pit road for more adjustments to help Allmendinger with the handling of the car. Allmendinger restarted at the tail-end of the longest line on lap 79 after speeding on pit road.
  • During stage two, Allmendinger continued to battle a tight race car and struggled getting into the corner. The team made its green-flag pit stop on lap 158 coming in from 26th. Allmendinger finished stage two 27th.
  • The No. 16 team made an adjustment to lower the front end during the final stage break. Allmendinger continued to battle a tight-handling Camaro until the team made a green flag stop on lap 287 to free up the car. He went on to finish 27th.

“We struggled with balance and overall grip today. Our guys worked hard to make adjustments, but our car was still off. We’ve got some work to do on our short-track program so we’ll get back to shop and get to work for the next one.”

– AJ Allmendinger

Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1

  • Per the rulebook, Justin Haley started 29th in the Toyota Owners 400 as qualifying was canceled
  • due to inclement weather.
  • During the opening stage Haley’s No. 31 Camaro ZL1 handled tight, as he slid back a few positions. After an air pressure adjustment, Haley radioed that his car was decent, as he went on to finish the stage in 25th. He told crew chief, Trent Owens, to continue making changes in that direction.
  • During the start of the second stage, Haley’s No. 31 car began running extremely tight. He pit for adjustments during the first caution of the stage, improving the handling of the car. Haley eventually fell a lap down to the leaders and finished the stage in 23rd.
  • A miscommunication and pit-road mishap on Haley’s final green-flag pit stops caused him to lose a few positions. Fortunately, Haley was able to take the wave around, putting him just one lap down, as he went on to finish 29th.

“It wasn’t our best day collectively as a team. We made some great adjustments throughout the day and were moving in a positive direction. Unfortunately, some miscommunication put us in a bad spot, and we just couldn’t quite make up our track position. I think we made improvements and learned a lot; we just need to button some things up and execute in other areas to get the most out of our day.”

– Justin HAley



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