NASCAR: Full-time driver ruled out by Daytona 500 announcement?

A.J. Allmendinger competing for Kaulig Racing in the Daytona 500 means that they plan to run a shared entry during the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR / Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

One of the hot rumors of NASCAR Cup Series silly season this offseason had been that former Spire Motorsports driver Ty Dillon would be on his way to Kaulig Racing to replace A.J. Allmendinger behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet in 2024.

Allmendinger is indeed set to move back from the Cup Series to the Xfinity Series full-time, despite having won at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval in his first full season with Matt Kaulig's Cup Series team in 2023.

But although he is moving back to the Xfinity Series, where he won a total of 10 races as a full-time driver for Kaulig Racing in 2021 and 2022, to compete for a championship in 2024, Allmendinger was always slated to be a part of the team's Cup Series plans as well.

Ty Dillon not competing in NASCAR Cup Series?

However, it was believed that Allmendinger would compete in select races behind the wheel of a third Kaulig Racing entry.

Instead, the team announced that he is set to drive the No. 16 Chevrolet in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, thus ensuring that the entry will be shared like it was during the 2022 season before he was hired to compete full-time. The rest of Allmendinger's schedule has not yet been announced.

Dillon, who has been replaced by rookie Carson Hocevar behind the wheel of the No. 77 Chevrolet at Spire Motorsports, could theoretically still end up driving the No. 16 Chevrolet in 2024, but the confirmation of Allmendinger for the Daytona 500 effectively eliminates the possibility of him competing full-time.

Dillon has since signed with Rackley WAR to compete full-time during the 2024 Truck Series season as well, replacing Matt DiBenedetto behind the wheel of the No. 25 Chevrolet. So even if he does compete in select Cup Series races throughout the 2024 season, he, like Allmendinger, will not be competing for points.

Meanwhile, Kaulig Racing still have a seat to fill for 35 of 36 races on the schedule. Aside from Allmendinger, to which other driver or drivers will they turn?

Next. NASCAR team set for manufacturer switch for 2024 and beyond. NASCAR team set for manufacturer switch for 2024 and beyond. dark

The 66th annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 18, with live coverage from Daytona International Speedway set to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on Fox. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss it!