RPW Column By: ANTHONY PALOMBO / RPW – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – What was supposed to be a relatively easy start to race day Saturday at Daytona for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, turned into anything but. For the team that swept the podium (pre-post race inspection) back in July at Daytona, turned into a disastrous Saturday afternoon in qualifying at the NASCAR Racing Experience 300.
Unspecified mechanical issues put the No.10 driven by Ross Chastain and the No.16 driven by A.J. Allmendinger well off pace. By the end of the session, both cars failed to qualify for the race on time and did not have enough owner points to fall back on. After some quick negotiations, Kaulig Racing was able to place Chastain into the No.38 car owned by RSS Racing, driven by former champion, Jeff Green. It was also a Chevrolet and a partner in engines to Kaulig’s ECR Engines.
Buying a ride after qualifying is not unheard of by a sponsored car that failed to make the field on time. It simply has been a while since we have seen it. There were only two hours between qualifying and the race. Kaulig Racing quickly wrapped the 38 machine into Chastain’s sponsor colors, Nutrien AG. It remained the No. 38 for the race.
Daytona is known as the highest paying event each year for the teams. From the small to big, this payout helps pay the bills early on. This will not have a major financial impact to the team as it would a smaller organization. However, it is not a good way to start things off on a positive note.
What’s lost in the fray is that Allmendinger did indeed fail to make the race. Justin Haley, who drives the No.11 for Kaulig qualified 3rd for the race. His attempt was well after his teammates who failed to make the race. Chastain suffered damage in a large accident late in the race that caused damage to his right front rendering him to a 22nd place finish. Haley finished the race in 6th place. The next race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Boyd Gaming 300 in Las Vegas, NV next weekend on Feb. 22nd.