Kaulig Racing is putting Kaz Grala in the No. 16 Chevrolet for next month’s season-opening Daytona 500.
“This is a huge opportunity for me both personally and professionally,” said Grala, 22. “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 Chris Rice enough for trusting me in their Cup program, as well as RCR for helping shape my career the past couple seasons. I have already worked with many of the Kaulig team members before, so hopefully, that will help us hit the ground running next month. Bring on the Daytona 500!”
Kaulig made the Daytona 500 last year with Justin Haley, finishing 13th. Without the benefit of a charter to guarantee a spot on the starting grid, Grala will need to be one of the fastest open cars during qualifying on Feb. 10 to lock up a spot or try race his way into the field during the Duels on Feb. 11.
Daytona is one of the select NASCAR Cup Series events Kaulig Racing has committed to running this season. The team previously announced plans to run superspeedway and road course Cup Series races with hopes of becoming a full-time team in the future.
“We’re super excited to have Kaz join our team in 2021, and we can’t wait to get started with him at Daytona,” said Chris Rice, president of Kaulig Racing. “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.”
Grala has one Cup Series start on his resume. In August, Grala substituted for Richard Childress Racing driver Austin Dillon when Dillon was sidelined from competition at the Daytona road course because of a positive COVID-19 test. Grala finished seventh in his debut.
Grala competed on a part-time basis in 2019 and ’20 in both the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series. In 2017, Grala ran full-time in trucks, where he earned one win and finished seventh in points. He ran full-time in the Xfinity Series a year later with five top-10 finishes. Grala has made 66 starts across the three national series.