Kaulig Racing driver AJ Allmendinger and owner Matt Kaulig were riding high Saturday after the Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and rightly so. Their No. 16 Chevrolet was parked in Victory Lane for the second time this season. The smiles on their faces during post-race media availability were expected and evident.
Neither Kaulig nor Allmendinger faltered when asked if Allmendinger will pilot a Cup Series car for Kaulig Racing in 2022 as the team plans its anticipated full-time foray to the premier series.
“He’s definitely on our short list,” Kaulig said. “We fully plan on running at least one car in the Cup Series next year full time. Whether that’s AJ or someone else, we’re really not sure. I think AJ, regardless, will run road courses or maybe some superspeedways, I don’t know.”
Kaulig then clarified, however, that the team will seat only one driver in its full-time car so he or she can be eligible for the playoffs and championship. The Chevrolet-backed organization has not obtained a 2022 charter yet.
Mentioning Allmendinger for road courses and superspeedways, along with saying “at least one car,” does make it seem like there is more in the works than what has already been announced, which was simply a confirmed 2022 full-time effort in the Cup Series.
Allmendinger must have caught the possible slip-up since he covered with a joke immediately afterward.
“I might be the one driving the truck to the road courses and superspeedway races,” Allmendinger said. “They may part time me for that.”
Allmendinger has Cup Series experience — 373 starts to be exact, with two coming this year. He raced there full time from 2009-11 and then again from 2014-18. Allmendinger has one career win from 2014 at Watkins Glen International that came along with a postseason berth.
Since 2019, Allmendinger has been in the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing. He had five starts in 2019 and 11 in 2020 before signing on full time in 2021. Allmendinger credits his current team for falling back in love with the sport.
“I’ve told Matt and Chris (Rice) that no matter what the role is, I just want to keep being a part of the growth,” Allmendinger said. “Because I truly enjoy it. And that’s something since 2019, I’ve enjoyed more than I thought I would.”