After spending just one full season behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series, A.J. Allmendinger is set to drop back down to Kaulig Racing's Xfinity Series team to compete for a championship in 2024.
With Justin Haley on his way to Rick Ware Racing and Daniel Hemric having been called up from Matt Kaulig's Xfinity Series team to replace him behind the wheel of the No. 31 Chevrolet, Allmendinger's move ensured that the Cup Series team would have a whole new look for the upcoming season.
Ty Dillon, who lost his ride with Spire Motorsports to rookie Carson Hocevar after just one season, had long been rumored to replace Allmendinger behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet.
But here we are just weeks away from the start of the 2024 season, and only one Allmendinger replacement has been confirmed.
Ironically, the only confirmed driver of the No. 16 Chevrolet for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is Allmendinger himself.
The No. 16 Chevrolet is set to be driven by Allmendinger in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, but no drivers have been confirmed for the car throughout the rest of the 36-race 2024 season.
Kaulig Racing's confirmation of Allmendinger for the Daytona 500 was not a huge surprise, given the fact that it was said that he would remain involved with the Cup team and compete in select races amid his move back to the Xfinity Series.
But the fact that he was announced as the driver of the No. 16 Chevrolet -- not a non-chartered third entry like Kaulig Racing have run in the past -- was a bit surprising, as it immediately eliminated the possibility of the car having a single full-time driver in 2024.
It also effectively eliminated the possibility of Dillon competing full-time for the team, which in turn opens up the possibility of the team having a rotating cast of drivers for the car throughout the season, one which includes more than just Allmendinger and Dillon. Keep in mind, not even Dillon has been confirmed as a part of the team's 2024 plans yet, so there is still quite a bit up in the air.
The 2024 season is unofficially scheduled to get underway with the Busch Light Clash preseason exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, February 4. The Daytona 500 is the first of 36 points races on the schedule, and it is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 18.