NASCAR Xfinity Series team Kaulig Racing recently announced plans for a partial NASCAR Cup Series schedule in 2021, primarily consisting of road courses and superspeedway races. The team has since announced that Kaz Grala will drive the team’s #16 Chevrolet in the Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 14.
“We’re super excited to have Kaz join our team in 2021, and we can’t wait to get started with him at Daytona,” Kaulig Racing President Chris 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.”
Grala has one-career Cup Series start, substituting for Austin Dillon on the Daytona International Speedway road course in 2020 after Dillon tested positive for COVID-19. Grala finished seventh in the race.
Grala has raced part-time in the NASCAR Truck and Xfinity series the last few years. In 32-career Xfinity Series races, he has four top-fives, including two at Daytona. His lone Truck Series win in 33 races also came at Daytona in 2017.
“This is a huge opportunity for me both personally and professionally,” Grala said. “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 [team owner] and Chris Rice enough for trusting me in their Cup program, as well as RCR (Richard Childress Racing) 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!”
The 2021 Daytona 500 also will be the second Cup Series race, ever, for Kaulig Racing. The team also fielded the #16 in the 2020 Daytona 500. Justin Haley, one of Kaulig’s Xfinity Series drivers, drove the car to a 13th-place finish.