Kaulig Racing announced on Wednesday (Jan. 18) their third entry into next month’s running of the 65th DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway, with 20-year-old Chandler Smith behind the wheel.
Smith, a graduate of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Kyle Busch Motorsports, moves to the Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice-led organization for 2023 piloting their No. 16 NASCAR Xfinity Series entry full-time. However, the Talking Rock, Georgia native will also be given the opportunity to make his premiere stock car series debut in February for the team, also. In an unchartered entry, Smith will drive the No. 13 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 hoping to make his maiden DAYTONA 500 appearance on February 19.
The attempt into the Great American Race for Smith will be the first of five NASCAR Cup Series races this upcoming season after gaining sponsorship from Quick Tie a proprietary, patented hold-down system for high wind and seismic construction, which has joined the team to represent five races during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. Additionally, the brand will sponsor Smith’s normal occupation in the No. 16 Xfinity Series entry throughout the full-time campaign.
Following the season opener in Daytona, Smith’s next four appearances in the Next Gen are scheduled for Richmond in April, the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro, Talladega’s Playoff date in October, and the season finale from Phoenix in November.
Smith’s leap into both Cup and Xfinity Series competition in 2023 comes after two successful seasons in the Craftsman Truck Series, qualifying for the NASCAR Playoffs in both seasons. 2022 was easily his best season to date in the top levels of stock car racing, notching three victories for KBM and even advancing to the Championship 4 round before taking third in the standings. Off 16 top-10 finishes in the 23-race last season, in which he never failed to finish, he was given the drive in three races for Sam Hunt Racing’s Xfinity car last year, posting a best finish of an impressive 7th at Homestead-Miami in October.
Smith was confirmed to join Kaulig on October 5th, vacating the empty seat in the team’s roster after the aggrandizement of A.J. Allmendinger back to Cup Series competition after notching back-to-back regular season championships.