NASCAR: Rumored full-time Cup driver running out of options

Ty Dillon had been linked to Kaulig Racing as a potential full-time driver for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. Will he even drive at all?
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

As the NASCAR Cup Series offseason began over three months ago, much of the driver/team movement for the 2024 season had already been announced.

One of the few remaining open charter cars was Kaulig Racing's No. 16 Chevrolet, which had been driven full-time by A.J. Allmendinger in 2023. Allmendinger was widely expected to drop back down to the Xfinity Series for Matt Kaulig's team, where he would presumably have a much better chance to win races and contend for a championship.

Even before that move was formally announced, it was rumored that Ty Dillon, who had been let go of by Spire Motorsports at the end of the 2023 season, would take Allmendinger's place. So when Allmendinger's move was confirmed, it seemed like a done deal.

Now here we are, closing in on the start of the 2024 season, and nothing about Dillon's Cup Series plans have been announced. Realistically, there may not be any.

Ty Dillon NASCAR Cup Series prospects fade

Dillon was effectively ruled out as a full-time Kaulig Racing driver -- and thus a full-time Cup Series driver -- when the team confirmed that Allmendinger would be returning to the No. 16 Chevrolet for the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

The plan was always for Allmendinger to run select races for the team in the Cup Series, much like he did in 2021 and 2022, but the belief was that he would do so in a third car.

The team have also confirmed that Josh Williams, who is also set to compete full-time for their Xfinity Series team this year, is set to drive the No. 16 Chevrolet part-time this year on the Cup side. He competed in last weekend's Busch Light Clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and his regular season slate is set to begin with the second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Additionally, Shane van Gisbergen is set to make his seven scheduled Cup Series starts with Kaulig Racing as opposed to Trackhouse Racing Team. That start tally could still grow.

With the schedules of Allmendinger and Williams still not confirmed beyond the season's first two weeks and van Gisbergen only lined up for seven races thus far, it is entirely possible that Dillon ends up making select starts as well.

But the car's schedule is undoubtedly filling up, and Dillon has already announced a full-time Truck Series deal with Rackley WAR. Is he still looking to add to his schedule with additional Cup Series starts? Prior to full-time deals with Petty GMS Motorsports in 2022 and Spire Motorsports in 2023, he most recently competed part-time in the Cup Series in 2021 with Gaunt Brothers Racing.

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Kaulig Racing's full-time Cup Series driver for 2024 is Daniel Hemric, who is replacing Justin Haley behind the wheel of the No. 31 Chevrolet following Haley's surprising move to Rick Ware Racing. Their other full-time Xfinity Series driver is van Gisbergen, who remains under contract with Trackhouse Racing Team.