Over the last five years, Kaulig Racing has grown from a small, single car team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series into a three-car powerhouse and contender for Xfinity wins and championships. Now, after dabbling in Cup Series competition over the last two years, the next step in Kaulig Racing's rise has arrived.
On Friday, Kaulig Racing announced that they have acquired two charters in the NASCAR Cup Series for 2022, and will run a full-time team at NASCAR's highest level. Justin Haley, who currently drives the team's No. 11 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series, will be the team's full-time driver. In addition, veteran AJ Allmendinger will race a partial schedule of Cup races while continuing to run full-time in Xfinity.
Kaulig Racing's charters, which guarantee them a starting spot in each Cup Series event, were acquired from Spire Motorsports. In a separate statement, Spire shared that they will continue to run the No, 7 Chevrolet full-time in 2022 with driver Corey LaJoie.
"I'm extremely proud of how far Kaulig Racing has come in just a few short years," team owner Matt Kaulig said in a team press release. "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!"
After first entering NASCAR as a sponsor in 2014, Kaulig -- a former college football quarterback and the executive chairman of LeafFilter -- began fielding his own team in the Xfinity Series in 2016 with driver Blake Koch. Growing his team over the next several years, Kaulig Racing now fields three full-time cars in the Xfinity Series with Haley, Allmendinger, and Jeb Burton. Kaulig entries have won three times this season, with Allmendinger winning at Las Vegas and Mid-Ohio and Burton winning at Talladega.
In addition to their Xfinity efforts, Kaulig has also entered the Cup Series as a part-time team, first running the Daytona 500 with Justin Haley in 2020 before expanding to a partial schedule in 2021. Kaulig Racing has run four Cup races this season with Allmendinger and Kaz Grala, scoring three top 10s and a fifth-place finish at Circuit of the Americas.
While 2022 will mark Haley's first full-time season in Cup, Haley already has both a wealth of Cup experience and a Cup Series win. Haley has run 17 Cup races since 2019, and won in just his third career start at Daytona when his team stayed out under caution before the race was stopped and eventually declared official due to rain & lightning with him in the lead.
Allmendinger raced in the Cup Series full-time from 2007 to 2017, with lone Cup victory coming at Watkins Glen in 2014.