Kaulig Racing is focusing their main efforts on the Xfinity Series for 2021, but that isn’t stopping the organization from dipping their toes into what could be the foundation to a successful future at NASCAR’s premier level.
The effort for the team resulted in Kaz Grala, racing on a part-time basis for Kaulig, scoring the team’s best Cup finish to date with a sixth place finish in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega.
What a drive, @KazGrala! From outside the top-15 taking the white flag, to a photo-finish for 6th!
He kept his @Hyperice Chevrolet ZL1 1LE in prime condition all day long and was in position when it counted!
— Kaulig Racing (@KauligRacing) April 25, 2021
“I was just happy to get to pilot this thing,” Grala said. “It is few and far between when I do, but I try to make an impression on my few starts and I feel like today was a good step in the right direction. Didn’t have the best luck in Daytona, but we rebounded here.”
While only a one-car operation for Sunday, the Boston driver and his fellow Chevrolet teammates spent the entire day working together since superspeedways have become dominated by manufacturer strategy and cooperation. He was able to avoid the handful of major wrecks, and bring home one of the few cars unscathed by Sunday’s wild race.
It’s also the second top-ten finish for Grala in his Cup career in as many starts. Fans may recall when the Chevrolet driver got behind the wheel of the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing last year at the Daytona road course after Austin Dillon was diagnosed with COVID-19. He wheeled the No. 3 Camaro home to a seventh place finish after rolling off tenth in his surprise Cup Series debut.
With the sixth place finish at Talladega, Grala bested fellow Kaulig teammate A.J. Allmendinger, who orginially gave Kaulig their best Cup finish with a seventh place at the Daytona road course earlier this season.
The finish caps off an impressive weekend for Kaulig Racing, with Jeb Burton claiming his first career Xfinity Series win thanks to a rain-shortened Saturday race.
“Kaulig Racing did a great job. They won the NASCAR Xfinity Race yesterday, so big weekend for them all around,”said Grala.
The 22-year-old driver failed to lock in a full-time opportunity for 2021 after spending 2020 in the Xfinity Series part-time with Richard Childress Racing. He’s making the most of his part-time role at Kaulig, and the investment looks to be paying off. Grala is expected to participate in a number of events for Kaulig on the Cup side.
“I think that’s a great boost in momentum for us and hopefully it’ll be just another piece of the puzzle for me to get a full-time ride sometime down the road,” he said.
According to Kaulig Racing, the No. 16 team will return to Cup competition at Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) on May 23rd, continuing their part-time schedule for 2021. From a media release earlier this year, the organization plans to race at only superspeedways and road courses for this season.
A driver is yet to be named for COTA, with the front running candidates likely being A.J. Allmendinger and Grala himself.
Grala’s next Cup Series race is to be announced at a later date.