NASCAR: Who is replacing A.J. Allmendinger in 2024?

Even after winning a race during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, A.J. Allmendinger is set to move back to the Xfinity Series in 2024.
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR / Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Kaulig Racing recently confirmed that A.J. Allmendinger is set to move back to the NASCAR Xfinity Series after spending just one full season with the team in the Cup Series in 2023.

The move came as a surprise to many, given the fact that Allmendinger not only won a race as a part-time driver at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2021 but the fact that he won at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval in 2023, making him from responsible for both of the team's victories during their limited time at NASCAR's top level.

But Allmendinger is arguably the top driver within Kaulig Racing's organization, especially with Justin Haley having left for Rick Ware Racing, and the Cup Series team isn't nearly as competitive as the Xfinity Series team.

So it does make some sense to have Allmendinger competing in a series where his upside is not nearly as limited -- and where he can be a championship contender, just as he was in 2021 and 2022 before he moved up to the Cup Series.

Plus, Chandler Smith is moving to Joe Gibbs Racing after just one year, and Daniel Hemric has been called upon to replace Haley. So there was a need for talent at Kaulig Racing's Xfinity Series team, and Allmendinger certainly fits the bill.

Allmendinger, who won two races as a part-time Xfinity Series driver in both 2020 and 2023, won five races in each of his two seasons as a full-time driver for Kaulig Racing in 2021 and 2022. He qualified for the Championship 4 in 2021, and he will likely be one of the favorites to make it back in 2024.

Who will replace A.J. Allmendinger for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season?

Though he has struggled over the last few years, Ty Dillon has long been viewed as the favorite to move to Kaulig Racing as Allmendinger's replacement behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet for the 2024 season.

A move to Kaulig Racing would make the team Dillon's fifth in the last five seasons. Germain Racing and Gaunt Brothers Racing folded after the 2020 and 2021 seasons, respectively, and he lost his ride with Petty GMS Motorsports after a 2022 season in which he was consistently outperformed by teammate Erik Jones.

During the 2023 season, he was consistently outperformed by teammate Corey LaJoie at Spire Motorsports, and he finished in last place in the point standings (among full-time drivers) by a wide margin.

Although Spire Motorsports purchased another charter from Live Fast Motorsports and confirmed an expansion from two cars to three, they opted to bring in rookies Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith alongside LaJoie instead of moving forward with Dillon. Smith is on loan from Trackhouse Racing Team, where there simply wasn't enough room for him in 2024.

Next. NASCAR: Two Trackhouse drivers now competing for other teams. NASCAR: Two Trackhouse drivers now competing for other teams. dark

The confirmation of Dillon would make the second Rick Ware Racing entry the only chartered entry without any confirmed drivers for the 2024 season. Dillon would become the 35th full-time driver confirmed for next year. The second Rick Ware Racing car is expected to be driven by multiple drivers throughout the season.