Kaulig Racing added detail to its NASCAR Cup Series plans, announcing Wednesday that Kaz Grala will drive its No. 16 Chevrolet in a part-time schedule, starting with a bid for the Daytona 500 next month.
The Matt Kaulig-owned organization had announced Jan. 7 it would focus on road-course and superspeedway races for a limited Cup Series slate in 2021 with aspirations for a full-time Cup effort in the future. The team indicated Grala would compete in several of those events for Kaulig this season.
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Grala has some history of success at Daytona International Speedway. He became the 2.5-mile track’s youngest winner in 2017, prevailing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at 18 years, one month, and 26 days of age. He also made his Cup Series debut at the DIS road-course layout last season, recording an impressive seventh-place finish for Richard Childress Racing as a late fill-in for Austin Dillon.
“This is a huge opportunity for me both personally and professionally,” Grala said in a release from the team. “I’ve grown up dreaming of reaching the NASCAR Cup Series, so it will be really special to get more chances to race against my heroes, with Kaulig Racing being the perfect team to take that next step with. I can’t thank Matt Kaulig and (team president) Chris Rice enough for trusting me in their Cup program, as well as RCR for helping shape my career the past couple seasons.”
Kaulig Racing is set to field three full-time teams in the Xfinity Series this season, with AJ Allmendinger, Jeb Burton and Justin Haley on its driver roster. The organization made its lone Cup Series start to date last season, with Haley turning in a 13th-place result in the Daytona 500.
Grala, 22, has competed most recently in the Xfinity Series as a part-time driver for the Childress organization, which shares a technical alliance with the Kaulig group. The Massachusetts native ran a five-race slate in each the 2019 and 2020 Xfinity seasons for RCR, producing two top-five finishes — both at Road America in consecutive years.
“We’re super excited to have Kaz join our team in 2021, and we can’t wait to get started with him at Daytona,” Rice said. “He has had some great success in different series and layouts at Daytona, so we think he will be a great addition to our team beginning with the Daytona 500.”
The team indicated sponsorship and further schedule announcements would be made at a later date.