NASCAR powerhouse considered stopping after first win

A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Ross Chastain, NASCAR
Ross Chastain, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) /

Kaulig Racing: Out after just one win?

Perhaps the biggest thing that Matt Kaulig revealed was the fact that, when he entered NASCAR, he wasn’t sure whether or not his team would continue after they got their first win — if they ever got it.

“The goal was always to get a win,” he admitted. “And I didn’t even know if we got a win if we would just stop; it was almost like, that situation!”

They scored their first Xfinity Series victory with Ross Chastain in July 2019 at Daytona International Speedway, and they scored their first Cup Series victory with Allmendinger last August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

They have since added 13 more Xfinity Series victories and sent Haley to the Championship 4 in 2020 and Allmendinger to the Championship 4 last year.

So suffice it to say that they didn’t stop, and they don’t plan to stop.

The same applies in the Cup Series. Their first win is only the beginning. Instead of a “win and we’re done” mentality, now there is less pressure than ever on the team; it’s very rare that you can say a new full-time Cup Series team already has a win entering their first full season of competition at the sport’s top level, but that is the case for Kaulig Racing.

“Major, major, majorly; it definitely takes off pressure,” he said. “We felt like we had pressure – our only goal in the Xfinity Series was to win a race. When we started a team, really the only reason I started the team was to go try to get a win. If we were going to spend all the money sponsorship-wise, it is really expensive to go run for some of these top organizations.

“So if I was going to spend that much money to go full-time racing, I figured maybe we can do it, and being entrepreneurial, it’s like, I think we can do this ourselves. We have a better chance of developing a program and maybe going after a win if we do it ourselves.

“But yes, already winning a Cup race just takes all of the pressure off the whole team, the whole organization. It’s like, ‘hey, we’ve already done that, now let’s just go compete’, and we know it’s going to be super hard to compete, these guys are really good, they spend a lot of money, they’ve been doing it for years and years and years. And you see the drivers who you’re out there competing against, they’re the best in the world.

“So already got the win, already got the trophy, already got the Brickyard, it’s almost like everything else is just now building the business, building the organization to be able to compete on a weekly basis and put ourselves in a position to maybe go get trophies. We’re definitely hunting trophies in the Xfinity Series, and we’re just trying to compete with the big boys in the Cup Series.”