Kaulig Racing announced Tuesday that AJ Allmendinger will return to full-time competition in the NASCAR Xfinity Series next season, driving the No. 16 Chevrolet in all 33 races.
The move brings the Matt Kaulig-owned organization up to three full-time entries in the Xfinity Series. Allmendinger, 38, joins fellow full-timer Justin Haley and newcomer Jeb Burton on the team’s driver roster for next year.
Allmendinger indicated in a video posted from his social-media accounts Sunday he would return to Kaulig Racing in 2021 but said he didn’t have “a set schedule next year” for his driving workload. The campaign will mark Allmendinger’s first full NASCAR season since 2018, when he competed in the Cup Series for JTG-Daugherty Racing.
“As a part-time driver for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity series, I have really enjoyed working with all the women and men in the organization these past two years,” Allmendinger said in a statement provided by the team. “The love of showing up to NASCAR races has returned for me, and I truly have enjoyed myself on and off the race track. It starts with Matt Kaulig and (team president) Chris Rice. I can’t thank them enough for giving me a call at the start of 2019 and offering me races that continued into 2020.
“More than anything, I have really loved being part of the team and watching the growth of the organization, and because of that, the opportunity to come back full time in 2021 was something I just could not pass up.”
Allmendinger won twice in Kaulig equipment last season, competing in 11 events — an increase from his five-race slate for the team in 2019. Those victories included his first national-series victory on an oval track as he prevailed at Atlanta Motor Speedway in June, then a repeat triumph in his road-racing wheelhouse on the soggy Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval in October.
“Having AJ race full time for Kaulig Racing will only elevate our program to another level,” said Rice, who has been team president of Kaulig Racing since February 2019. “I truly believe his veteran experience has helped us in every race he has ever run with us, and that is evident in his finishes. I’m sure he will complement our other two great drivers we already have, as he’s been a great teammate since day one. I love the challenge in front of us to go after the championship in 2021 with all three of our drivers.”
Kaulig Racing started as a single-car operation in 2016 and grew to two full-time entries last season. Allmendinger has produced three of Kaulig Racing’s seven Xfinity Series wins, with Justin Haley (three wins) and Ross Chastain (one win) scoring the others.
Kaulig Racing indicated sponsorship for Allmendinger’s No. 16 Chevrolet would be announced at a later date.
— AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) December 1, 2020