Gragson and Hemric join the previously announced AJ Allmendinger in the team’s newly formed second Cup car, which will debut in the Daytona 500 with Allmendinger.
“We think our roster for the 2022 season features some great drivers,” team president Chris Rice said in a release. “Having three out of the four Xfinity Series championship contenders helping to build our new Cup Series program, is truly a tremendous opportunity for this Kaulig Racing team. While these guys have been fierce competitors for the last few years, having them bring that same tenacity as teammates will be extremely fun to watch and a great way for this team to grow in its first, full season in the Cup Series.”
The release notes that with the addition of Gragson and Hemric, the second Kaulig car will be full time.
“I have had the chance to race against some great drivers over the past few years,” Hemric said. “AJ is a great competitor, who can win on any track, and Noah and I have been teammates in the past at JR Motorsports. Each of us are different, but seeing how intense both AJ and Noah are as professionals gets me excited for this upcoming season. Now we have the opportunity to be able to lean on each other and try to build a program here at Kaulig Racing at the highest level of our sport. I feel fortunate to be a part of this.”
Added Gragson: “This is a really unique opportunity I have with Kaulig Racing to be able to share the No. 16 with two of my biggest competitors in the Xfinity Series. I’ve had the chance to work with Daniel before, but it will be a new experience working with AJ. We’ve raced against each other for a few years now, and I think working as teammates will only help us get better as drivers.”
The full schedule for the driver lineup was not announced outside of Allmendinger’s anticipated schedule, which includes road courses and other circuits in addition to the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
The team’s number will be the No. 16; Kaulig’s previously announced full-time car with driver Justin Haley has not yet had its number announced.
In 2021, Allmendinger scored a win, two top fives and three top 10s for Kaulig’s part-time No. 16 in Cup, while Gragson failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 for Beard Motorsports.
In Xfinity, Hemric was the series champion (one win, 15 top fives, 21 top 10s), while Allmendinger finished fourth in points (five wins, 18 top fives, 22 top 10s) and Gragson ended the season third (three wins, 13 top fives, 20 top 10s).
Hemric and Allmendinger will compete full time in the Xfinity Series for Kaulig in the Nos. 11 and 16, respectively, while Gragson returns in Xfinity to JR Motorsports’ No. 9.
About the author
Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.