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Kaulig Racing Post-Race Report | Talladega Superspeedway

April 24, 2023

Geico 500

Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1

  • Justin Haley qualified 26th for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Following an early caution on lap three, Haley pitted for tires and an adjustment to help a loose-handling No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1. The handling steadily improved, and as the green-flag stops cycled through, Haley made it up to fourth before the caution came back out on lap 43. Haley pit for tires and fuel and went on to finish the opening stage in 17th.
  • After telling his team he needed track position, Haley made a fuel-only pit stop during the first stage break, gaining him 14 spots on pit road. Haley started the second stage as the first car on the bottom lane and stayed in the top five for the majority of the second stage, before making a green-flag pit stop with under 20 laps to go in the stage. Haley went on to finish the second stage in 13th.
  • Haley continued his solid run throughout the final stage. When a caution came out with 47 laps to go, Haley was told to save fuel and made a fuel-only pit stop. Haley avoided two, overtime wrecks but could not quite get his track position back. He went on to finish 19th.
  • AJ Allmendinger qualified 19th for the Geico 500.

“This one stung a little. We had a fast No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevy and had really good pit strategy all day. We thought we would set ourselves up for the end there and avoided all the wrecks, but we just couldn’t quite the track position back that we had all day.”

– Justin Haley

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Nutrien Ag Solutions FARMSMART Camaro ZL1

  • AJ Allmendinger qualified 19th for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Allmendinger started at the rear of the field due to an unapproved adjustment. Under the first caution in the opening stage, the No. 16 Nutrien Ag Solutions FARMSMART Camaro stayed out and restarted 21st. With a second caution during green-flag pit stops, Allmendinger made it up to 6th before coming down pit road under caution. He restarted 24th on the bottom lane with teammate, Justin Haley, behind him. With two laps to go in the first stage, Allmendinger fell off the pack, as the No. 16 Camaro had a handling issue. He finished stage two in 26th, and the team brought him down pit road to work on the handling during the stage break.
  • Allmendinger restarted stage two at the tail of the field after pitting twice under the stage break. Still battling handling and ride quality on his No. 16 Camaro, 13 laps into stage two, Allmendinger sat in 32nd. He made a fuel-only stop on lap 104 and worked his way up to 11th by lap 112 before getting shuffled out of the draft with four to go in the stage. Allmendinger finished stage two in 26th place.
  • In stage three, Allmendinger avoided damage on lap 142 when the field wrecked in front and behind the No. 16 Camaro sitting in 22nd. Allmendinger came down pit road under caution for a fuel-only stop and restarted 18th with 42 laps to go. Running the bottom line in the draft, Allmendinger moved up to eighth with 17 laps to go. Unable to avoid a second-overtime wreck, Allmendinger was collected in the chaos and was scored 29th.

“I saw Bubba (No. 23) sideways and just tried to hold on and hope I wouldn’t get collected. The first hit, I had it saved, but then somebody got me in the right rear. I was proud of our race team. We had a fast Nutrien Ag Solutions FARMSMART Chevy – it had speed in it. We were bouncing around at the beginning of the race but got a little bit better. At these racetracks, all you can do is hope to give yourself a chance and we had one.”

– AJ Allmendinger

Ag-Pro 300

Daniel Hemric, No. 11 Cirkul Chevrolet

  • Daniel Hemric qualified ninth for the Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Hemric fired off strong in the opening stage, leading multiple laps before getting shuffled in the field on the last lap, finishing 12th in the stage.
  • In stage two, Hemric was happy with the balance of the No. 11 Cirkul Chevrolet, and went on to finish fifth as stage two finished under caution.
  • Pitting for fuel only, Hemric led the field to green on the restart of the final stage. Taking right sides only in his next pit stop, Hemric restarted as the second car on the outside lane with six laps to go and quickly took the lead back. Going for the win in the closing laps, Hemric was involved in “The Big One”, as the No. 11 Cirkul Chevrolet ended up on its roof. Hemric climbed out of the car under his own power and was scored 21st.

“There’s so much give and take throughout the race to try and work with alliance cars, but you have to be up front at the end to win a speedway race. It is so much easier to say you have a plan and make the moves you want to make when you are watching and preparing for these races, but when you are in the moment, anything can happen. There’s a lot of positives to take from what I just experienced right here. It’s on me for being late on the block, and I will learn from it. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how superspeedway racing goes. A big shoutout as well for the safety team helping me.”

– Daniel Hemric

Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet

  • Chandler Smith qualified 11th for the Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Smith settled into the race quickly and made assertive moves through the majority of the first stage, leading lap 21. He fell back to eighth where he finished the stage, earning three stage points.
  • Smith continued his strong run with a second-place-stage finish when the green-white-checkered flag came out at the conclusion of stage two. The Quick Tie Products No. 16 team made multiple trackbar adjustments to set Smith up for success in the final stage.
  • On lap 112, Smith was involved in a wreck that took him out of the race, relegating him to a 25th-place finish.

“All I saw was the sun and smoke there at the end. I almost made it through, but then I got hit hard. We had a fast Quick Tie Chevy Camaro all day and led some laps. We put ourselves in contention again, which is a positive takeaway. Looking at the bigger picture, most of the guys racing for points were caught up as well, so hopefully that won’t hurt us too hard in the standings.” 

– Chandler Smith

Derek Kraus, No. 10 LeafHome Water Solutions Chevrolet

  • Derek Kraus qualified 14th for the Ag Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • In the open stage, Kraus worked with spotter, Frank Deiny, on blocking and drafting in the lead pack. Kraus finished stage one in 13th place.
  • Kraus restarted stage two the seventh car on the bottom. Acquiring minor damage in an incident that brought the caution out on lap 39, the No. 10 Leaf Home Water Solutions team evaluated the left front for damage. Kraus restarted 28th. Under caution on lap 48, Kraus asked NCS teammate, Justin Haley, who was sitting on top of the No. 10 box, for advice on how to carry speed and avoid being side drafted. Kraus finished stage two seventh and made a fuel only stop during the stage break.
  • Kraus started the final stage behind teammate, Daniel Hemric, as the pair worked together during the first few laps before Kraus was shuffled back in the field and collected in a wreck on lap 101. The team went to work to repair the No. 10 Leaf Home Water Solutions Chevy under the damaged vehicle policy (DVP). Kraus went back on track to attempt to reach minimum speed when the red flag came out on lap 112.
  • Kraus was the free pass when the field took the green flag for the first overtime attempt on lap 115, however, the No. 10 Chevy would not fire, resulting in time expiring on the DVP clock. He was scored with a 27th-place finish.

“It was a learning day overall for me in Talladega. I felt like I was able to adapt pretty quickly from the beginning of the race, and it was all about trying to stay out of the big one. We kinda got shuffled out, which caused us to be back a little further than we wanted to be when we got caught up in one of the wrecks there near the end. Overall, it was fun day and we brought a really fast LeafHome Water Solutions Chevy.”

– Derek Kraus



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