Ryan Truex will drive the No. 11 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series, replacing Blake Koch, the team announced Tuesday.
Koch drove the No. 11 in the team’s first two seasons.
Truex, the younger brother of 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., will compete in his first full-time season in Xfinity.
The announcement comes after it was announced last week that the 25-year-old driver parted ways with Hattori Racing Enterprises in the Camping World Truck Series.
On SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint,” Truex discussed the move to Kauling Racing, which he said reminds him of Furniture Row Racing, the team his brother competes for.
“Really excites me for the future,” Truex said. “I’m annoying. I’ve just been kind of floating around the past few years and bugging people, trying to keep my name out there and doing everything I can and luckily it’s worked out.”
Truex said getting the deal with Kaulig Racing was “kind of roller coaster,” with him not thinking it would get done at one point.
“I’m honestly glad it’s done and we can focus on going out and performing and doing our jobs,” Truex said.
Last year was Truex’s first full-time season in the Truck Series. He earned eight top fives, 13 top 10s and two poles. He finished the season ninth in the standings.
Koch, in his second season with Kaulig Racing, earned five top 10s and his first pole (Talladega). He made the playoffs but failed to advance out of the first round, finishing 11th.
Truex has 39 Xfinity starts since 2010. He has two top fives with a best finish of second in 2012 at Dover from the pole. That race was one of 13 Truex competed in for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Truex won back-to-back K&N Pro Series East championships in 2009 and 2010.
“When we started this team two years ago I knew we had the potential to be one of the strongest teams in the Xfinity Series and I think we’re within reach of that goal,” team owner Matt Kaulig said in a press release. “Ryan is going to be a great addition to the team and I have some high hopes for this season. Each year we keep improving as a team and I think this season we’ll be able to get some wins and make another run in the playoffs. Everyone at Kaulig Racing is excited to have Ryan on board and it should be a great, fun year.”
Kaulig Racing is part of a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
“Luckily having the Childress ecosystem around us I can go talk to Austin (Dillon), talk to Ty (Dillon), talk to (Daniel) Hemric, and get their insights and what they think I need to do or what I need to change to get used to these cars,” Truex said.
Kaulig is also the CEO and owner of LeafFilter Gutter Protection, which was the primary sponsor for Koch the last two seasons.
On SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive,” Kaulig said that Bar Harbor Sea Food, which backed Truex in the Truck Series, will be his primary sponsor with LeafFilter still involved in some capacity. Other sponsorship will be announced at a later date.
Also appearing on the “The Morning Drive,” Koch said LeafFilter Gutter Protection not returning as the primary sponsor is why he’s no longer driving the No. 11.
“I knew they were looking (for a driver with a sponsor),” Koch said. “I didn’t have time to get one, really. I got the official word a couple of days ago, but I pretty much knew in mid-December that I was going to have to figure something out. So it wasn’t a complete shock, because everything wasn’t officially done until yesterday.”
Koch said there is no hard feelings between him and Kaulig.
“I don’t want people mad at Matt Kaulig thinking he kicked me out,” Koch said. “This is a mutual thing. We talked and Matt owns LeafFilter. He was putting a lot of his own money into having me drive a race car. You just can’t do that forever.”
On “The Morning Drive,” Kaulig said the team is adding 15,000 square feet to its shop in Welcome, North Carolina, which is on the RCR campus, and it plans to field a second car this season.
Kaulig said there’s a “100 percent chance” he’d bring Koch back to drive the second car, but added there’s no hard date for when the second team needs to be in operation, saying it may not make its first start until a few races into the season.
“We’re shopping the second car right now, but we won’t run the second car without sponsorship,” Kaulig said.