Full-Time Cup Series Return Hopes Crushed as A.J. Allmendinger Moves to Xfinity Series With Kaulig Racing

Published 12/07/2023, 9:20 AM EST

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In 2023, A.J. Allmendinger had a decent full-time season in the Cup Series with Kaulig Racing. Ending his year with one victory lane visit, four top-5s, and seven top-10s, he got home in 21st position in the driver standings. Despite a promising run, he unfortunately couldn’t make it to the playoffs. Uncertainty clouding the No. 16 driver’s future in the top tier of NASCAR as a result, a decision was awaited from Kaulig Racing’s offices.

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And now, they have provided their verdict that Allmendinger won’t be seen in the Cup Series in 2024.

A.J.Allmendinger is moved back to the Xfinity after negligible impact in the Cup Series

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In a recent update from Kaulig Racing, the team announced via their “X” handle that A.J. Allmendinger will be driving the No. 16 car in the Xfinity Series in 2024. The reason the move is a surprise is because the driver’s win at the Charlotte Roval was the only consolation in the otherwise forgettable season that Kaulig Racing had. But seemingly, that wasn’t enough reason for the top brass to keep him on.

Before being promoted to the Cup Series for the 2023 season, Allmendinger had won the Xfinity regular seasons in 2021 and 2022. Receptive of the move, he said in a statement, according to NBC Sports, “My plans for 2024 have always been whatever Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice think is best for the team. We’ve got work to do on both our Xfinity and Cup side as we continue to grow but I think we are putting ourselves in the best position to keep improving.”

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A.J. Allmendinger glad to be joining newcomer Josh Williams in the Xfinity Series

Though he has been downgraded a step, Kaulig Racing confirmed that Allmendinger will still be seen driving in the Cup Series. The driver joined Kaulig Racing back in 2019 and has secured 15 Xfinity Series wins and 2 Cup wins with the team. His career-best in Xfinity came in 2021 when he finished 4th in points. He also made 5 starts in the 2023 Xfinity Season and ended up winning at Nashville and COTA.

In 2024, he will be joining Josh Williams who is breaking into the higher ranks of the sport after a long run with below-par equipment. Williams being a driver whose racing calibre is known throughout the racing stands, the duo can be expected to form a strong team for Kaulig Racing. The driver reflected similar thoughts in his statement saying, “With Josh Williams coming on board, it’ll be fun to learn each other’s driving styles and work together as teammates on Saturdays. I’m excited to be a part of everything we’re working on at Kaulig Racing and see what we can get done next season.”

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Chris Rice, the team’s president said, “We feel AJ [Allmendinger] returning full-time to our Xfinity Series program gives us the best chance to continue growing our organization as a whole.” The move could potentially end with Allmendinger regaining his form and climbing back up the ladder to a full-time ride in the Cup Series in the future. But before then, he still has a lot of unconquered territory in the Xfinity Series to capture in 2024.

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Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam

365Articles

One take at a time

Hello, there! Though my affinity for racing originally stemmed from the European circuits of Formula 1 as a teen, I unexpectedly found myself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement growing up. This sport took hold of me and never let go, leading me to a career as a NASCAR writer. Over the last few months, I?ve had the chance to share my insights and observations through a myriad of articles on EssentiallySports.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Ramesh

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