NASCAR: Full-time lineup confirmed by Daytona 500 announcement?

Kaulig Racing's confirmation of A.J. Allmendinger for the Daytona 500 effectively solidifies the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series full-time driver lineup.
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Ty Dillon has long been rumored to be the replacement for the Xfinity Series-bound A.J. Allmendinger behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet at Kaulig Racing for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. When it was confirmed that Allmendinger would indeed be dropping back down to NASCAR's second highest level in 2024, the move was viewed as inevitable.

But Kaulig Racing made somewhat of a surprising decision this past week, naming Allmendinger the driver of the No. 16 Chevrolet for the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in February.

While Allmendinger was always set to factor into the team's Cup Series plans, even after his move to the Xfinity Series was confirmed, it was not expected that he would drive one of their two chartered cars. Rather, it was expected that the team would field a third entry in select events, with Dillon expected to be their second full-time driver alongside Daniel Hemric.

Hemric was called up from Matt Kaulig's Xfinity Series team to replace the Rick Ware Racing-bound Justin Haley behind the wheel of the No. 31 Chevrolet.

NASCAR Cup Series set with 34 full-time drivers for 2024?

But with Allmendinger now set to drive the No. 16 Chevrolet in the Daytona 500 -- and other TBD races throughout the 36-race season -- the entry is confirmed to be a shared entry, one which is not driven by a full-time driver.

As a result, Kaulig Racing's Daytona 500 announcement effectively solidified the list of drivers set to compete full-time throughout the 2024 season. It consists of 34 drivers.

Front Row Motorsports, Ford
No. 34 - Michael McDowell
No. 38 - Todd Gilliland

Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet
No. 5 - Kyle Larson
No. 9 - Chase Elliott
No. 24 - William Byron
No. 48 - Alex Bowman

Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota
No. 11 - Denny Hamlin
No. 19 - Martin Truex Jr.
No. 20 - Christopher Bell
No. 54 - Ty Gibbs

JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet
No. 47 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Kaulig Racing, Chevrolet
No. 31 - Daniel Hemric

Legacy Motor Club, Toyota
No. 42 - John Hunter Nemechek
No. 43 - Erik Jones

RFK Racing, Ford
No. 6 - Brad Keselowski
No. 17 - Chris Buescher

Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet
No. 3 - Austin Dillon
No. 8 - Kyle Busch

Rick Ware Racing, Ford
No. TBD - Justin Haley

Spire Motorsports, Chevrolet
No. 7 - Corey LaJoie
No. 71 - Zane Smith (R)
No. 77 - Carson Hocevar (R)

Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford
No. 4 - Josh Berry (R)
No. 10 - Noah Gragson
No. 14 - Chase Briscoe
No. 41 - Ryan Preece

Team Penske, Ford
No. 2 - Austin Cindric
No. 12 - Ryan Blaney
No. 22 - Joey Logano

Trackhouse Racing Team, Chevrolet
No. 1 - Ross Chastain
No. 99 - Daniel Suarez

23XI Racing, Toyota
No. 23 - Bubba Wallace
No. 45 - Tyler Reddick

Wood Brothers Racing, Ford
No. 21 - Harrison Burton

The only way for a 35th driver to be added to this list is if Rick Ware Racing opt to hire another full-time driver to compete alongside Haley. It is certainly possible, given Cody Ware's recent reinstatement, but unlikely, given the fact that the team have historically run at least one shared entry each season.

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Of course, Kaulig Racing could also opt to field a third car for Dillon in the races Allmendinger (or anybody else, for that matter) competes in behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet, thus giving him a way to run the full schedule, but that doesn't appear likely. Plus, they haven't confirmed any races for Dillon yet as it is.