While Justin Haley runs the full 2022 NASCAR Cup Series for Kaulig Racing, the team will also field a multi-driver #16. On Tuesday, Kaulig announced the #16 will be piloted by A.J. Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, and Daniel Hemric.
Allmendinger was already announced as one of the #16’s drivers in June, two months before he scored the team’s maiden Cup victory at the Indianapolis Road Course. The reigning Xfinity Series regular season champion ran five Cup road races in 2021, scoring a pair of top tens to go with his Indy win.
Hemric joins Kaulig for the 2022 Xfinity season after claiming his first-ever NASCAR race win in addition to the 2021 series championship with Joe Gibbs Racing. He raced full-time in the Cup Series in 2019 for Richard Childress Racing, during which he scored two top tens and a pole en route to a points finish of twenty-fifth. He returned to the Xfinity level the following year.
Gragson will drive fourteen races in the #16. The JR Motorsports driver hopes to make his Cup début in the Daytona 500 for Beard Motorsports before joining Kaulig for the limited Cup slate; he failed to qualify for the 2021 500 in his initial attempt with Beard.
Hemric and Gragson were team-mates at JRM in 2020. Amusingly, the two would find themselves punching each other at the Atlanta Xfinity race in March following an incident on pit road. Both drivers along with Allmendinger made the Championship Round, with Hemric winning the title while Gragson and Allmendinger respectively finished third and fourth.
“I have had the chance to race against some great drivers over the past few years,” said Hemric. “A.J. is a great competitor, who can win on any track, and Noah and I have been team-mates in the past at JR Motorsports. Each of us are different, but seeing how intense both A.J. and Noah are as professionals gets me excited for this upcoming season.
“Now, we have the opportunity to be able to lean on each other and try to build a programme here at Kaulig Racing at the highest level of our sport. I feel fortunate to be a part of this.”
In addition to the Cup side, which will mark the team’s maiden full season at NASCAR’s highest level, Kaulig is a three-car Xfinity team. Allmendinger returns to the Xfinity #16 for his second run at a championship, while Hemric will drive the #11 that Haley vacated. Kaulig newcomer Landon Cassill is in the #10.
“We think our roster for the 2022 season features some great drivers,” commented team president Chris Rice. “Having three out of the four Xfinity Series championship contenders helping to build our new Cup Series programme is truly a tremendous opportunity for this Kaulig Racing team. While these guys have been fierce competitors for the last few years, having them bring that same tenacity as teammates will be extremely fun to watch and a great way for this team to grow in its first, full season in the Cup Series.”