AJ Allmendinger Is Rejuvenated by Community and Success at Kaulig Racing

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

Life is all about opportunities, determination and the memories you make along the way. This fact isn’t lost on AJ Allmendinger, who has two wins this season and is second in the Xfinity Series standings ahead of the Watkins Glen weekend (August 7th, 4 p.m. ET, NBC). 

“The win at Vegas took some pressure off of my own shoulders.” Allmendinger told Skirts and Scuffs in an exclusive interview. The veteran driver was referring to his March and June victories that guaranteed his position to compete for the series championship, “Winning early in the season, you know that you have that under your belt, and you’re in the playoffs. The pressure of when you will get that win is gone – at least in my own head."

“Mid-Ohio was just as important, because it was Matt’s (Kaulig) home race, and I knew it meant so much for him. We struggled at Mid-Ohio in the past, so it was big for us as a team to get a win at his home track. It was encouraging to know that we could take a track that we haven’t been great at in the past and be a lot better and actually win there.”

Since Allmendinger’s win at Mid-Ohio in June, he has earned three top-five and four top-10 finishes, combining for a season total of 11 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes through the first 19 races. 

When the Xfinity Series returns to Watkins Glen, New York, for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race, it will be three days shy of the seventh anniversary of Allmendinger’s NASCAR Cup Series victory at the 2.45-mile road course.

“I remember being really confident going to that race, even though we hadn’t won yet.” Allmendinger said of the 2014 victory, “We tested really well there, so I feel like we were as good as we could be and the most prepared we could be. The way the race played out and the battle with Marcos (Ambrose) for the win was special. To know that when it comes down to a battle and being able to make it happen, that was a great feeling.”

A special win, indeed. Though it remains the 39-year-old’s only Cup Series victory in 374 starts, he does not rate any of his victories he has earned throughout his career. He feels doing so would be a disservice to the success he has found. 

“I view every win as equally important. To win at the professional level in any series is very important and a big deal. I don’t take any win for granted.” 

Allmendinger’s auto racing career has had many branches, which have provided him rides with owners of various backgrounds, including Roger Penske, Brad Daugherty, and Matt Kaulig of Kaulig Racing, where he currently pilots the No.16 Chevrolet.

Allmendinger first drove the No. 16 for Kaulig in 2018 during the summer race at Daytona, where he ultimately finished 38th after being disqualified. Despite that disappointment, success soon followed Allmendinger and his team when he scored a victory at the Charlotte Roval. 

That success, paired with the dynamic of Kaulig Racing being a tight-knit organization, has allowed Allmendinger a chance to not only showcase his skills as driver, but to demonstrate the determination that he has always had.   

“I enjoy this team on and off the track. That was one of the big reasons that I decided to go full time again when the opportunity came about. I enjoy being around everyone.” 

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

Teammates Jeb Burton and Justin Haley add to that foundation that Allmendinger has established.

“They are both really fun guys to be around and are great teammates. It’s enjoyable to be around them on and off the track. It’s important to have teammates like that and be able to work together. You want to have a good relationship, which is what I have with them.” 

When it comes to adding to his career wins with more road course victories, Allmendinger answered in pure Dinger fashion. 

“I always say it’s nice to know that at least I don’t equally suck at everything.” Allmendinger quipped, “I think with Kaulig Racing, we’ve shown that we can run well at all tracks, which is where you want to be as a driver.”

If the success that Kaulig Racing has had in the 2021 regular season carries over into the post-season, they could have multiple drivers contending for the series championship. I took a moment to ask Allmendinger if he could choose who he competes against for the championship at Phoenix, like contestants during the finale on the reality game show Survivor, who he’d select.


“I would say Jeb or Justin – one of my teammates. That’s what we want at Kaulig Racing when we get to Phoenix. We want to all be eligible for the championship.”

When Allmendinger isn’t at a racetrack or a golf course, you won’t find him searching the television channels for his favorite TV show, which he says he doesn’t have. Perhaps he would be in search for a new recipe, however, based on what he does watch.

“I don’t really have one.” Allmendinger said of his favorite show to tune into, “I like all sports – especially golf. I do watch Master Chef and Hell’s Kitchen though.”  

Allmendinger knows better than most that racing success isn’t guaranteed, but what is guaranteed is how you react, no matter the outcome. When asked three things Allmendinger would tell his younger self, it’s much simpler for the driver these days. 

“Enjoy racing while you have it, keep your head down on your golf swing and take everything in stride.” 

Writer’s Note: 

I’d like to thank AJ Allmendinger for his time for this interview! Also a big thank you to Carly Miktuk and everyone at Kaulig Racing for making this interview for Skirts and Scuffs happen. You can follow AJ and Kaulig Racing on Twitter. 


Before she even knew what NASCAR was, Courtney watched the races while sitting in her father’s lap. When she attended her first race at Talladega, her love for the sport grew even stronger.

In addition to her Trackin’ Trucks column for Skirts and Scuffs, Courtney runs her own blog, ChasingtheScoreboard.com. She is a receptionist for a daycare headquarters and enjoys attending country music concerts whenever one is in town. 

AJ Allmendinger Is Rejuvenated by Community and Success at Kaulig Racing  AJ Allmendinger Is Rejuvenated by Community and Success at Kaulig Racing Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 Rating: 5