By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Kaulig Racing announced Wednesday that Kaz Grala will attempt to make the 63rd Daytona 500 next month, piloting the No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
It’ll mark Grala’s second-ever Cup appearance as he filled in for Austin Dillon at the Daytona International Speedway road course race last August, finishing an astonishing seventh. Dillon had tested positive for COVID-19, ultimately leading Richard Childress Racing on giving the 22-year-old an opportunity to compete in the sport’s highest level.
Grala will have to make the race however, hoping to replicate what Justin Haley did last year when he made the field via his qualifying speed. Should he accomplish this feat, it’ll be the Matt Kaulig owned team’s second 500 start.
For now, Grala is excited to get an opportunity of having a multi-race Cup deal materialized.
“This is a huge opportunity for me both personally and professionally,” said Grala. “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!”
Grala is no stranger when it comes to success at the 2.5-mile superspeedway as he captured his only national touring victory to date in the Truck Series back in 2017. Since then, he’s had some success in the Xfinity Series the past three years where he scored four top-fives and nine top-10 finishes.
Chris Rice, President of Kaulig Racing, said having Grala onboard should create stellar results.
“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 Rice. “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.”
Outside of the Daytona 500, the other races and partnerships will be announced at a later date.