Matt Kaulig and Michael Bagley talk about the 2022 season on NASCAR Live. Listen to the MRN Network Podcast segment below. Visit Kaulig Racing for the latest NASCAR news. Check out more podcast episodes on the Motor Racing Network. “I think people know who we are, fans know who we are, and I’m super excited for what our guys can do in the upcoming 2022 Xfinity Cup Series.” -Matt Kaulig
[00:00:01.330] – Mike Bagley
This is NASCAR Live! Now, back to Mike Bagley.
[00:00:05.870] – Chris Rice
I want to announce our first full-time, multi-year for the Cup Series, justin Haley. Justin Haley will drive our car in the cup next year, and years to come. Multi-year deal with Justin. Justin has been in our family for now three years. Now, we know he’s going to be here much longer. Obviously, everybody’s sitting here going, is A.J. Allmendinger going cup racing, right? Is A.J. Allmendinger going cup racing? Well, AJ Allmendinger has bought into Kaulig racing everybody. I want to be very clear about that. He is part of us. He is part of a lot of decision making that we have. We sat down with A.J. Allmendinger and had a lot of conversations, and we feel like A.J. deserves another shot at going for the Xfinity Championship. So he’s going to go for another extended Championship in 2022. So he will be racing in Xfinity Series, along with a bunch of cup races.
[00:00:58.170] – Mike Bagley
We welcome you back to NASCAR Live, getting ready to close in on another racing season. We’ll be at it pretty shortly. Three weeks from Sunday heading out to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. And one team that will be making, I wouldn’t say it’s maiden voyage, but one of its first few starts in the Cup Series is Kaulig Racing, and Matt Kaulig is here with us. Matt, welcome to NASCAR Live. How are we doing? Happy New Year, by the way!
[00:01:23.250] – Matt Kaulig
Well, happy New Year to you! It’s great to be here, and it’s always great. It’s been a few weeks or a month or so since we’ve been able to talk racing, so it’s good to join you and talk some racing.
[00:01:36.530] – Mike Bagley
Well, you know, it’s funny you’re new to the Cup Series in full time, but in a part time, you’ve already taken care of the winning ways. One of A.J. Allmendinger last year at Indiana, let me start right there. How long does a win like that last? What’s the lingering effect of that win on Kaulig Racing? You and everybody involved?
[00:01:57.080] – Matt Kaulig
Well, I think that one being Indianapolis and our first cup win and just even how it went down and how it was, I think that one lasts forever. In my office, I’m up in Hudson, Ohio, and in my office, I’ve got two big pictures. One of us in victory Lane, and then one of us sitting there all kissing the bricks. And so I look at that every single day. And I don’t think a win like that just goes away. Like if you win the Daytona 500 or at Indy or just one of the major races, I think the lingering effects of that thing go on really, forever.
[00:02:38.520] – Matt Kaulig
But it’s been awesome for the team. It’s almost one of those things where obviously we weren’t really expecting a cup win. We ran eight cup races part time last year just to really get our feet wet and really get used to the Cup Series and to show our faces and just in preparation for getting ready for this year in 2022 and then to actually walk away with a giant win and a Cup Series victory was an unexpected surprise. But it actually showed our team that we can do it.
[00:03:16.790] – Matt Kaulig
We’re a great team. We’ve got a great bunch of individuals on the team and all aspects of our team, from drivers to crew chiefs to engineers to just everybody at the race shop and our sponsors and partners. And we did it. So I think that one will last forever.
[00:03:37.370] – Mike Bagley
You say it will last forever, and it should. That was something. I mean, being there that day, it was something remarkable to watch and pretty special to watch. But as you walked in the garage last year, I don’t want to say it was basically us against everyone else, but you were new. They were favorites to win that race. And at the end of that day, you were the one that was able to walk away with that win. To me, that has to ladle on some additional specialness to the situation. No one expected Kaulig Racing to win that race, and you were the ones that were kissing the bricks.
[00:04:12.070] – Matt Kaulig
That’s right. And I don’t know that anybody was, it’s interesting because it was A.J. Allmendinger, so I don’t know that anybody was shocked that A.J. Allmendinger won a road course race or one at Indy. I know that, I guess. Was it earlier in the year? It was earlier in the year that we ran the Daytona road course. Man, I can’t even remember what was it? Just a couple of races in and A.J. Led a bunch of laps in that thing. And so I don’t know if anybody was shocked that A.J. Allmendinger was up there. I think maybe more shocking, that Kaulig Racing was putting good cars out there and leading laps and actually could win a race.
[00:04:59.030] – Matt Kaulig
Those things are hard, as you know, a cup race, xfinity races are really hard to win, much less cup races almost seem impossible to win. Even all the cup teams would agree with that. Things have to really line up, and you have to be really good to compete and to win those things. So the fact that we were able to do that, we feel good over the last. We’re coming up on our 7th season in the Xfinity Series, and I think we’ve been really relevant for the last couple of years in the Xfinity Series.
[00:05:31.740] – Matt Kaulig
So I think people in the cup garage, they obviously know who we are. We’ve won a bunch of Xfinity and races. I think fans kind of know who we are. And so it was good to really get our feet wet. I’m super excited about this upcoming year in the Cup Series just to see what we got. It’s one of those things where we know what we have in the Xfinity Series. Almost our expectations are to go out, get into the playoffs and go win a Championship. And we’ve got a couple of drivers that are able to do that. And we definitely have the cars and the team that have the capabilities of going to do that. But we’ll just see how it goes, really in the Cup Series, and we’ll give it our best.
[00:06:17.390] – Mike Bagley
You’re a very successful businessman. And, yeah, you’ve had to take risks along the way. But you’re also smart enough to know what you don’t know and smart when it’s time to strike. Is this one of those moments? You’ve been in the Xfinity Series for seven years? You’re coming to the Cup Series? Yeah. We got the next Gen race car. Did that provide you the opening you were waiting for or was Kaulig ready to go at this moment?
[00:06:44.330] – Matt Kaulig
We would have been ready to go. That’s been our plan, really for a couple of years. I mean, we did, Covid hit, what, two years ago, two seasons ago and knocked us out from being able to be a part time team and we weren’t qualifying. We really couldn’t even get in. We ran the Daytona 500, and we were planning on running maybe seven or eight races two years ago in the Cup Series in preparation for last season, maybe going full time.
[00:07:18.590] – Matt Kaulig
The whole charter situation became more of a situation. The charter system and everything became more of a situation last year, really, than it was even the previous year. For some reason, I don’t know what accelerated all that stuff. I don’t know whether it’s just guys coming into the sport or more people really wanting and coming into the sport. But no, our plan was always to go part time, really understand the Cup Series. The cup garage is a lot different than the Xfinity Garage. I mean, it seems the same as far as the haulers and the crews and everything else, but it’s a different set of officials. It’s a different set of executives running the series.
[00:08:10.670] – Matt Kaulig
It’s just a bigger show, and there’s a lot more to it in the Cup Series than it is in the Xfinity Series. So we wanted to really even get our team prepared and kind of used to being in the Cup Series. And so that’s what we’ve done. We feel really good about going into 2022. We feel comfortable. All of our drivers really have run in the Cup Series before. And so we’re really looking forward to just seeing what we can accomplish this year.
[00:08:43.940] – Mike Bagley
Matt, I appreciate the time. I know you’re busy, and I know you’re excited to get going racing again. We’ll look forward to seeing you at the track coming up.
[00:08:49.210] – Matt Kaulig
All right. Thanks, Mike. Appreciate it.
[00:08:50.920] – Mike Bagley
Matt kaulig of Kaulig Racing looking to make an impact in 2022. You’ll hear a majority of those races right here on the Motor Racing Network. Stay tuned. More of NASACAR Live on the way.