A duo of NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars named Justin will be in Cup Series rides for Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. On Monday, Kaulig Racing announced Haley will drive the #16 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the event while Spire Motorsports has recalled Justin Allgaier to pilot the #77 Camaro. It will be Allgaier’s second start for the team.
Haley already drives for Kaulig at the Xfinity level while the team’s Cup car is often piloted by Kaz Grala at the superspeedways. Grala, who finished sixth at Talladega in the spring, broke his foot in a crash in the Daytona summer race. With him rendered unavailable, the team turns to a driver who has enjoyed substantial success at such tracks as all four of his Xfinity race wins have come at either Talladega or Daytona; his lone Cup victory in 2019 was also at Daytona. The 22-year-old is currently sixth in points with one win at Daytona, six top fives, and nineteen top tens.
In a way, Haley driving Kaulig’s Cup car on Sunday will also be a dress rehearsal for 2022 as he and the team will move up to the top level full-time next year. Kaulig will also field a second multi-driver Cup car for names like team-mate and Xfinity regular season champion A.J. Allmendinger. With Allmendinger, Kaulig visited Cup Victory Lane for the first time at the Indianapolis Road Course in August. Haley last drove the Kaulig #16 in the team’s Cup début at the 2020 Daytona 500, where he finished thirteenth.
Haley posted on Twitter, “This will be an awesome opportunity to get a head start on next year! Thankful to have a team owner like @MattKaulig (Matt Kaulig)!”
In June, Allgaier filled in for Haley in the Spire #77 at Pocono after the latter was too banged up in a wreck in the Xfinity race earlier in the day; he finished twenty-fifth. After racing full-time in the Cup Series from 2014 to 2015 for HScott Motorsports, he has made three starts in the series since as a substitute driver, which included piloting the famed Hendrick Motorsports #48 at Indianapolis last year after Jimmie Johnson tested positive for COVID-19. The other interim duty came in 2016 when he replaced current JR Motorsports team-mate Michael Annett in HScott’s #46 while Annett was out with illness.
“Really excited to get back behind the wheel of the ole 77, I had a lot of fun working with them at Pocono earlier this year,” posted Allgaier. “I have to give a huge thank you to the whole @SpireMotorsport team for letting me fill in and looking forward to trying to get this baby to VL!”
Allgaier is third in the Xfinity standings with a pair of wins, thirteen top fives, and eighteen top tens. His best Xfinity finish at Talladega is second in 2016, while his best Cup run there is twenty-third in the 2015 spring race.