NASCAR team confirms driver change for Bristol race

A.J. Allmendinger is set to return to Kaulig Racing to compete in this Sunday afternoon's NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Derek Kraus, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR
Derek Kraus, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

After Derek Kraus made the first two starts of his NASCAR Cup Series career the past two weekends at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, A.J. Allmendinger is set to return to Kaulig Racing's No. 16 Chevrolet and compete at Bristol Motor Speedway this Sunday afternoon.

Allmendinger opened up the year behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet, the car he drove full-time last year, in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway and finished in sixth place.

Josh Williams, one of Allmendinger's two full-time teammates this year at Matt Kaulig's Xfinity Series team, then drove the car at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but his first Cup Series start since 2022 came to an early end as a result of his involvement in a wreck on lap two.

Kraus, who actually qualified the No. 16 Chevrolet for Allmendinger at Richmond Raceway last August due to Allmendinger's Xfinity Series commitment at Road America, has driven the car ever since. He crashed out at Phoenix Raceway after finishing in 28th place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Allmendinger back in the NASCAR Cup Series

The confirmation of Allmendinger for this Sunday afternoon's 500-lap Food City 500 at the four-turn, 0.533-mile (0.858-kilometer) high-banked Bristol, Tennessee oval is the only confirmation that has been made about his upcoming schedule. In fact, the No. 16 Chevrolet is still without a driver for 20 of the 32 races remaining on this year's calendar.

Shane van Gisbergen, who competes full-time for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series as well, is set to make the first of seven starts behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet next Sunday afternoon at Circuit of the Americas, and Kraus' schedule currently consists of four more races, beginning with the season's 12th race at Kansas Speedway in May.

Williams, like Allmendinger, is expected to compete in a number of other Cup Series races for the team throughout the season, but nothing has been confirmed for either driver beyond this coming Sunday afternoon.

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Tune in to Fox at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, March 17 for the live broadcast of the Food City 500 from the venue known as the "Last Great Colosseum". If you have yet to begin a free trial of FuboTV, do so now and don't miss it!