Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Chris Rice Says Kaulig Racing Nearly Done With 2023 Plans, Could Expand into NASCAR Trucks, IMSA or Late Models

Kaulig Racing NASCAR expansion Truck Series IMSA Late Models
Kaulig Racing, which fields two full-time NASCAR Cup Series teams and three full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series teams, currently, have their eyes on expanding their operation in 2023 and beyond. That expansion could include NASCAR Truck Series, IMSA and even a Late Model program. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Kaulig Racing, which is one of the four NASCAR Cup Series teams that have been rumored to be in the running for the Kyle Busch sweepstakes if Joe Gibbs Racing is unable to retain him, is nearing being able to announce their full 2023 plans.

Chris Rice, President of Kaulig Racing, stopped by SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s The Morning Drive on Thursday to talk about the timeline of their 2023 announcements. According to Rice, their plans could be revealed before the Playoffs begin in a couple of weeks.

“I think, you know, we are really close to where we’ll be able to announce everything,” Rice explained. “From Cup down to Xfinity down to all of the stuff we are doing. We spend a lot of time, now, because you have a lot more stuff, but we spend a lot of time to strategize and make sure we are making the right decisions. And we’re real close.

“Hopefully, in the near future, maybe before the Playoffs, we’ll have everything and be able to announce it and do that kind of good stuff. I’m excited about it.”

Rice admitted that he has seen the speculation on Twitter that his team, which first went NASCAR Cup Series racing in 2020, and has one win in 58-starts as an organization, could land Busch, a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and 60-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series. Rice loves to see fans sharing their thoughts on the internet.

“I know the world out there is making all kinds of ideas and thoughts about what we’re doing,” Rice said. “But I always enjoy that and I think it’s funny how — you know, I call it the Twitter world or Instagram or whatever the social media world is, I love engaging with the fans and people and love what they say. I do watch it, I do look at it.

“But we’re close and I think everyone is going to love it. We’ve got a bunch of great drivers there. That kind of matters to us. We have everything we need and we need to work hard at putting everyone in the right spot.”

As it stands, Kaulig Racing has three full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series entries (the No. 10, 11 and 16) and a new part-time No. 14 car coming next weekend at Daytona International Speedway, as well as two full-time NASCAR Cup Series entries (No. 16 and 31).

Kaulig, the still young racing organization, has been very aggressive in their expansion since premiering as a single-car NASCAR Xfinity Series team in 2016. Their track record suggests that they could add a fourth full-time Xfinity Series entry and a third full-time NASCAR Cup Series entry, and I don’t think anyone would bat an eye at it.

But could the team expand into other territories next year?

“Oh absolutely, yeah, we definitely have and I’m not scared to sit here and say that I have spent some time looking at Trucks, I’ve spent some time looking at IMSA, I’ve spent some time looking at everything,” Rice stated. “But yes we’ve looked at all of that, so that’s not far off the limb. You know Matt Kaulig, he wants to win trophies. We’ve even looked at late model stuff, starting a late model program.”

While it wouldn’t be a shock to see Kaulig Racing field a NASCAR Truck Series team or an IMSA team, it seems that Rice being an oldschool late model guy bodes well for the team at least dipping down into the grassroots level of stock car racing.

In fact, Rice thinks there needs to be NASCAR Cup Series representation in local late model racing.

“I think kids and people in the grassroots in the NASCAR side of it need to have somebody from the Cup side going to those races,” Rice said.

When will the announcements from Kaulig Racing’s 2023 season come? That remains to be seen, but there are just two race weekends left in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season — this weekend at Watkins Glen and next weekend at Daytona International Speedway. If they’re close, chances are the team announces things before the Daytona race weekend is over.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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