Kaulig Racing

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Kaulig Racing mourns death of crew chief Nick Harrison

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Kaulig Racing President Chris Rice said that when he heard of crew chief Nick Harrison’s death on Sunday morning, he thought back to a conversation they had after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Justin Haley finished 13th in that race.

“All I could think about with Nick is when he got up on the plane and he came over and talked to me as we were leaving New Hampshire,” Rice said Monday night on “Late Shift” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“He was stressed out that we didn’t run that well. He looked at me and he goes, ‘You know, we sucked there.’ I said, ‘Nick, we have sucked at New Hampshire for a long time. So the good thing is, we’ve changed drivers, we’ve changed crew chiefs, ain’t nothing fixed it, so it’s obviously something, whatever we’re doing.’

“He said, ‘You’re right. We’re going to go get them at Iowa.’ He was worried about the next race.”

Harrison died Sunday. He was 37. Harrison’s brother, Zach, told the Tennessean that a cause of death has not been determined.

“We know that he lived every single day to the fullest,” Rice said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about Nick Harrison. “That’s what we want to do at Kaulig Racing. Tomorrow when we show up, it is going to be better than what it was today. The next day we show up is going to be better than what it was Monday.”

Rice also said it will be a challenge for the team when they get to the track this weekend at Iowa Speedway.

“We just know that walking into the race track this weekend is going to be tough,” Rice said, “so we need every fan’s support that we can get for all my guys and myself and we’ll definitely make it through it.”

Rice said on “Late Shift” that he will serve as Haley’s crew chief for the foreseeable future.

“You cannot replace Nick,” said Rice, who has served as an Xfinity Series crew chief for 318 races. “We will never replace Nick. We will just have somebody fill his job. But right now we’re not in a hurry to do anything.

“We will definitely be looking and looking at what our next step is. Justin has another year and a half, if not even more, with Kaulig Racing and we will put somebody with him that is going to be there through that time. We don’t want to put somebody that is going to be with us for 10 days or three months or whatever. We will want to look at somebody that is going to help us grow Kaulig Racing.”

Harrison’s service is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET July 30 at Spring Hill High School in Columbia, Tennessee. The family has requested that memorial donations be made to the Nick Harrison Scholarship Fund at First Farmers & Merchants Bank in Spring Hill, Tennessee or Spring Hill Memorial Funeral Home.

“We know it’s going to take time for us to get over the loss of our friend not being here,” Rice said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We will always miss him, but we will never forget him and he’ll always be with us. We’re going to dig like he would want us to dig.

“Once Justin makes the playoffs, it’s going to be in memory of Nick. Once Justin makes it to the final four and goes for that championship, that’s what it’s going to be for.”

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Longtime crew chief Nick Harrison dies at 37, team announces

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LOUDON, N.H. — Kaulig Racing announced Sunday morning that veteran crew chief Nick Harrison died. He was 37.

Harrison was the crew chief for Justin Haley‘s No. 11 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series and had called the car’s 13th-place finish Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

In a statement attributed to team owner Matt Kaulig and president Chris Rice, the team said in a tweet that “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Nick Harrison, our beloved crew chief of the No. 11 car at Kaulig Racing. Please keep Nick’s family in your thoughts and prayers at this time.”

No cause of death or information on services was immediately available. A Kaulig Racing spokesperson said “further details would be provided as they come.”

NASCAR released a statement on Harrison’s death: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of longtime crew chief Nick Harrison, and offer our thoughts, prayers and support to his family, friends and Kaulig Racing colleagues.”

According to Racing-Reference.info, Harrison made his debut as an Xfinity crew chief in 2006. He was a crew chief for 184 Xfinity races (including 17 with Haley this year) and had five victories, his first with Kurt Busch in 2012 at Daytona International Speedway with James Finch’s Phoenix Racing.

He also worked 120 races as a crew chief in the Cup Series, including full seasons in 2011-12 with Phoenix Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet. He guided Busch to a third place June 24, 2012 at Sonoma Raceway, marking Harrison’s best finish as a Cup crew chief.

Harrison also won three times in the Xfinity Series with Austin Dillon and once with Paul Menard. He also won with Dillon in the Aug. 2, 2014 truck race at Pocono Raceway, one of three truck races for Harrison as a crew chief.

During a career with several teams including Phoenix, Richard Childress Racing and Kaulig, Harrison worked with more than a dozen Cup and Xfinity drivers. The roster included Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, Boris Said, A.J. Allmendinger, Micahel McDowell, Regan Smith, Ryan Truex, Landon Cassill, Jamie McMurray, Ty Dillon, Jeremy Clements, Brandon Jones, Ben Kennedy and Brendan Gaughan.

AJ Allmendinger to drive in Watkins Glen Xfinity race for Kaulig Racing

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NASCAR On NBC analyst AJ Allmendinger will climb back behind the wheel for the August 3 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International.

Allmendinger will pilot the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing for the second time this season.

Allmendinger is a past winner at Watkins Glen, having won the 2014 Cup race there. He has 10 prior Cup starts at the upstate New York road course, with the win, three top-five and six top-10 finishes, plus one pole.

He also has competed in one Xfinity race at Watkins Glen, starting fourth and finishing second for GMS Racing last year.

It’s an honor to be able to compete for Kaulig Racing at one of my favorite tracks, Watkins Glen International,” Allmendinger said in a team release. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win there in the Cup Series and had a strong run finishing second last season in my only Xfinity start there.

Matt Kaulig, Chris Rice and all of the guys made Daytona so enjoyable and fun, I can’t wait to get to The Glen.”

Allmendinger raced for Kaulig Racing two weeks ago in the Circle K Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, leading 33 laps and finishing third before the car was disqualified for failing post-race inspection, leaving Allmendinger with a last-place finish in the 38-car field.

Allmendinger has three additional Xfinity road course races scheduled with Kaulig Racing this season: Mid-Ohio (August 10), Road America (August 24) and Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval race (September 28).

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Daytona winners and losers

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WINNERS

Justin HaleyHis complicated relationship with Daytona took a turn no one could have expected. A year after he crossed the finish line first there in the Xfinity Series race but was penalized for going below the double yellow line and not given the win, Haley was the recipient of a well-timed lightning strike that occurred just after he assumed the lead under caution when others pitted. When rain prevented the race from resuming, Haley joined the list of winners at Daytona.

William ByronRunner-up finish was a career-high (and first top-five finish) that left him smiling but also thinking what if.

Ty DillonFourth-place finish was a career-high and marked his first top-five finish.

Corey LaJoie Avoided the big wreck late and finished a career-high sixth. He had never finished in the top 10 in 74 previous Cup starts.

Kaulig Racing — Organization scored its first Xfinity Series win Friday, sweeping both stages and going 1-2 with Ross Chastain and Justin Haley.

Stephen Leicht He crossed the finish line sixth but moved up to fifth when third-place finisher AJ Allmendinger’s car was disqualified for failing inspection after the race. That gave Leicht his first top five in the Xfinity Series since 2007.

LOSERS

Brad KeselowskiHe delivered his message in practice to William Byron and then saw his race end with an early accident that left him with a 39th-place finish and confused why his car jumped out after he said he got a “real straight push” from Kevin Harvick.

Kurt BuschRotten luck in pitting just after the field got the signal of one lap to go until the restart and then lightning stopped the race. Had the lightning happened maybe 30 seconds earlier, Busch would have stayed out and won the race and secured a playoff spot.

Landon CassillHis 11th-place finish on his 30th birthday Sunday was his best of the season so it’s hard to be critical of Cassill but he was second during the final caution and followed Busch on to pit road just before the lightning strike that delayed and eventually led to the race ending early. Cassill expressed how heartbroken he was on Twitter.

NASCAR disqualifies AJ Allmendinger’s car for failing inspection

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR announced that it disqualified the third-place car of AJ Allmendinger after the Kaulig Racing car failed inspection early Saturday morning at Daytona International Speedway.

Wayne Auton, Xfinity Series managing director, said the engine would not hold a vacuum when tested.

“Whenever you go especially to restrictor-plate style races, the teams are very much aware that everything has got to be sealed up tight,” Auton said. “It could compromise the availability of the restrictor plate to do its job.

Auton said this issue was checked on Thursday in inspection before the race. He said all the cars passed that inspection.

“Postrace, we automatically teardown the winner and second place and there’s always a random car and (Allmendinger’s car) was picked as the random this week,” Auton said. “We took the car back and did our due diligence.”

Auton said the winning car of Ross Chastain and the car of runner-up Justin Haley each passed but Allmendinger’s car “failed to hold a vacuum. The team was advised that they would be DQ’d.”

The team stated Saturday that it was a part failure that caused the violation and that the team accepted NASCAR’s decision.

This is the second Xfinity race in a row that a car has been disqualified after the event. Christopher Bell‘s third-place car was found to be too low.