LEXINGTON, N.C. – Kaulig Racing announced Friday at Nashville Superspeedway that Justin Haley will race full time in the NASCAR Cup Series with the team next year as part of a multi-year agreement.
Haley will pilot one of two full-time cars for the organization, following the team’s acquisition of a pair of Cup Series charters for the upcoming campaign.
Team owner Matt Kaulig’s affinity for NASCAR began in 2014 when he decided to put his company, LeafFilter Gutter Protection, on a Cup Series car as the primary partner. Bit by the NASCAR bug, Kaulig formed his own team, Kaulig Racing, in 2016 and began full-time competition in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“I’m extremely proud of how far Kaulig Racing has come in just a few short years,” said Kaulig. “We entered our first Daytona 500 in 2020 and have already made it known in just a handful of races that we are there to compete. It’s been no secret that going full-time racing in the NASCAR Cup Series was our goal at Kaulig Racing, and that is exactly what we are doing by purchasing two charters for 2022 and having Justin Haley as our first full-time driver!”
Haley, who has served as Kaulig Racing’s longest-running full-time driver in the Xfinity Series, will continue his full-time commitment as the team’s first-ever, full-time Cup Series driver.
A past winner in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Int’l Speedway in the Cup Series, Haley has driven the team’s flagship No. 11 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series since 2019.
“I’ve been so fortunate the past three years to drive for an amazing team owner like Matt Kaulig,” said Haley. “He has been a great mentor in my professional career, as well as my personal life away from racing. It’s been my dream from the start to race full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, and to do so with everyone at Kaulig Racing just feels right.”
During his tenure at Kaulig Racing, Haley has earned three wins, 15 top five, and 50 top-10 finishes for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series, including the team’s first-ever Cup Series start in the 2020 Daytona 500.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for me, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the endless support from Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice,” continued Haley. “This team has done more for me than I could ever do for them. I’m so honored to stay in the Kaulig Racing family for years to come.”
Following the team’s first Cup Series start in 2020, the team has since made four starts in the series this season, already earning a top five and two top-10 finishes in the No. 16 Camaro ZL1 1LE.
“We are confident that this is the right time to take this next step for Kaulig Racing,” said Chris Rice, president of Kaulig Racing. “I had the honor of being a part of handpicking Justin Haley as the driver of our No. 11 car in the Xfinity Series, and he has truly become an integral part of this Kaulig Racing team.
“We feel it’s only right that he is a part of taking that next step with us, and we are looking forward to the next couple of years with him.”
Additional partnership announcements for Haley’s Cup Series program will come at a later date.
While Kaulig Racing didn’t confirm a full list of drivers for its second entry Friday, the team did announce that A.J. Allmendinger would return to Kaulig Racing for select Cup Series starts next year, as well as another full-time season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Allmendinger has already been a part of Kaulig Racing’s part-time Cup Series effort this year. In two starts in the Cup Series this season, Allmendinger earned the team’s best Cup Series finish, a top five at Circuit of the Americas, as well as a top-10 finish at the Daytona Int’l Speedway road course in late February.
“Not only a good colleague, A.J. has become a good friend over the past few years,” said Rice of Allmendinger. “He has long been considered a ‘road-course ringer,’ but since joining Kaulig Racing, he has proven to be an all-around talented driver, and we can’t wait to continue having him elevate our program.”
Both of Kaulig Racing’s Cup Series charters were purchased from Spire Motorsports, which confirmed it would downsize to a single-car team next season with driver Corey LaJoie in a statement released Friday afternoon.
“Above all, we’d like to congratulate Justin and Matt Kaulig for their exciting news,” said Spire Motorsports co-owners Jeff Dickerson and T.J. Puchyr. “Justin is one of the most talented young drivers in the sport. We’re thrilled that he has an opportunity to compete full time for a playoff-caliber team. Matt Kaulig will bring new ownership and new enthusiasm to the NASCAR Cup Series garage. NASCAR has created a valuable charter model and we’re grateful to the sanctioning body and all the owners who have come before us. Without team owners like the Wood Brothers, Richard Petty, Rick Hendrick, Chip Ganassi, Joe Gibbs and Barney Visser, for whom we all have the highest respect, the charter system would not be the valuable and sustainable business model it has evolved into.
“Spire Motorsports will sell two of its three charters to Kaulig Racing. We will continue to field the No. 7 with Corey LaJoie as a chartered entry in 2022. We remain committed to NASCAR and the Cup Series and we will continue to look for opportunities to grow and compete in the future.”