AJ Allmendinger Returning to Cup Series in 2023


Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

AJ Allmendinger will return to the NASCAR Cup Series full-time for the first time in five years beginning in 2023, Kaulig Racing announced on Wednesday, October 5th. Allmendinger will pilot the No. 16 Chevrolet for the organization, which he has driven for since 2019 in their Xfinity Series program. 

Allmendinger, who is currently in the hunt for the 2022 Xfinity Series title, is coming off a victory at Talladega Super Speedway, his fourth victory of the season. 

“It’s crazy how the last five years of my life have gone,” Allmendinger said. “More than anything, I love this organization. I know the fans get tired of me talking about all the men and women of Kaulig Racing. This is not a race team. This is a huge family.”

“There will be tough times and growing pains, for sure.” Allmendinger continued, “But I love what they’re about, and they believe in me. I’ll be OK whether it’s good or bad.”

Allmendinger last raced a full schedule in the Cup Series in 2018. He earned one top-five finish and five top-10 finishes piloting the No. 47 Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing. 

The 40-year-old has made 18 combined starts for Kaulig Racing in the Cup Series the past two seasons, earning one victory at last year’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard. 

Team owner Matt Kaulig praised Allmendinger by saying that he is “one of the best in the world at every type of track. He’s done so much for Kaulig Racing and our program. He’s a gigantic part of what we’re building.” 

Kaulig Racing is in its first full-time season, hosting two charters: one for Justin Haley in the No. 31 Chevrolet and another for a rotating handful of drivers that includes Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, and Daniel Hemric. Kaulig has three top-five finishes and nine top 10s as an organization in 2022. 

“I first called AJ (Allmendinger) in 2019 to ask if he would run a couple Xfinity Series races for us,” said Chris Rice, president of Kaulig Racing. “He agreed to do five, and he was disqualified in the first two races. Although it was two tough results, AJ saw what we were trying to build here at Kaulig Racing, and better yet, he believed in what we were building. After the success we’ve had together since then, we think the next step is for him to help us do the same with our young Cup Series team.”

In addition to Allmendinger returning to Cup in 2023, Kaulig Racing announced that Chandler Smith will be joining their NXS roster for the 2023 season. Smith will pilot the No. 16 Chevrolet in the series, where he will compete for Rookie of the Year honors as he competes full-time. 

Team officials announced that both Allmendinger and Smith have signed multi-year contracts. 

AJ Allmendinger Returning to Cup Series in 2023 AJ Allmendinger Returning to Cup Series in 2023 Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Wednesday, October 05, 2022 Rating: 5

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