Photo: Justin R. Noe/ASP, Inc.

Justin Haley Signs With Kaulig Racing for 2019, Replaces Ryan Truex

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

The first big shakeup of the offseason takes place at Kaulig Racing, as 12th-place points finisher Ryan Truex will be replaced by Justin Haley, who signed a multi-year deal to now drive the No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

The 19-year-old is fresh-off his sophomore season at GMS Racing, scoring three wins at three different circuits at Gateway Motorsports Park, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Texas Motor Speedway, with the latter locking himself in the Championship 4, where he finished third in the final standings.

Haley scored nine top-fives and 18 top-10s in 23 starts that caught owner Matt Kaulig’s attention, and the team is now looking forward to having Haley in the driver’s seat.

“I am really looking forward to 2019,” Kaulig said. “Justin is coming off of the best season of his young career and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the No. 11 car.”

The Winamac, Indiana native said on Twitter that he’s thankful to now be a part of Kaulig’s organization.

Truex wrapped up his first full national season in NASCAR, where made it to the playoffs, but was eliminated in the Round of 12. His best run was at Mid-Ohio, where he scored his only top-five of the season.

The younger brother of two-time Xfinity Series and 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex, Jr., said on Twitter that additional sponsorship was an issue that ultimately led him becoming a free agent.

Despite the deal not sticking beyond 2018, Truex wishes Haley and Kaulig the best of luck as Haley becomes the third confirmed Rookie of the Year contender, joining Chase Briscoe and Noah Gragson.

In three Xfinity Series starts, Haley was in the spotlight after a last-lap pass below the double-yellow line at Daytona International Speedway in July relegated him from scoring two wins across two national series in three weeks to an agonizing 18th-place result.

His best finish was in his debut at Iowa Speedway in June, where he finished in 12th.

Haley is the third different driver to drive for the team after Truex replaced long-time Kaulig Racing driver Blake Koch during last year’s offseason.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. He's also covered Idaho Athletics and high school football as both a writer and videographer. Additionally, he spent 2017 writing several racing columns as an independent journalist. Luis is a fan of Seattle sports, a music critic and a motivator who wants to impact people's lives.