Kaulig Racing has announced that AJ Allmendinger will return to full-time NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) competition for the 2023 season, as he pilots the team’s No. 16 entry.
Following Allmendinger’s second-consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) regular-season championship, he and Kaulig Racing have announced that he will, once again, come out of retirement, this time for the 2023 NCS season.
“When I first went to Kaulig Racing to compete part-time in 2019 and 2020, I remember how I felt on the weekends that I wasn’t racing and how much I missed it. Competing full-time is a mentally tough battle at times. No matter how much work you put in as a driver, there’s a chance you will not achieve success. For a while, I think I lost that competitive drive to be the best. Kaulig Racing helped me find that again. I now feel more competitive than ever and believe there is more success to be earned as a team.”
Allmendinger, who retired from full-time NCS competition in 2018, returned to the NXS to compete in five races in 2019 with Kaulig Racing, earning the team its second-ever win at the inaugural Charlotte ROVAL race. Allmendinger would return to Kaulig Racing in 2020 for another limited schedule, winning two races out of 11 starts, before deciding to compete full time in the NXS for the 2021 season.
Not only did Allmendinger win five races in the NXS in 2021, including the regular season championship race at Bristol, he competed in a limited number of NCS races for the team’s part-time entry and won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in the team’s seventh-ever start.
With only 13 starts in the 2022 NCS season in Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Camaro ZL1, Allmendinger has recorded one runner-up finish, five top-10 finishes and has led five laps. Allmendinger is slated to compete in the Charlotte ROVAL for his final NCS race of the 2022 season before making his return to full-time competition in 2023.
“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.”
2022 marked Kaulig Racing’s first, full season in the NCS with Justin Haley in the team’s No. 31 entry, as well as the No. 16 entry shared by Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric and Noah Gragson.
“I’ve always told Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice that I will do whatever they think is best for the company, and as long as I am helping the team, I will keep doing it,” continued Allmendinger. “I love working with Justin (Haley) as well and being able to see his growth. I think we have more growth to do together, and it makes returning to the Cup Series full-time with Kaulig Racing an easy decision.”
Since joining Kaulig Racing, Allmendinger has earned 11 wins, seven of those coming on road courses, making him the winningest, road-course racer in NASCAR National Series.
“It’s hard to not think of AJ Allmendinger when you think of Kaulig Racing,” said Matt Kaulig, Kaulig Racing team owner. “When we started this team in 2016, I never imagined we’d have won as many races as we have, including a Cup Series race and two regular-season championships in two years. We are all truly excited to be able to say that we were able to get AJ Allmendinger out of retirement, not once, but twice now, to compete for Kaulig Racing full-time!”
Allmendinger will kick-off his return from retirement at the 2023 Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Sunday, February 5th.
Kaulig Racing PR