Editor’s Note: Today’s Kaulig Racing preview continues NASCAR.com’s countdown of team previews for the 2024 Cup Series season.
Engine: ECR Engines
Driver-crew chief pairings: Daniel Hemric-Trent Owens (No. 31), Multiple Drivers-Travis Mack (No. 16)
Team outlook: Entering its third full-time season in the Cup Series, Kaulig Racing is undergoing significant changes as the team aims to rebuild its Cup program in 2024. With AJ Allmendinger moving to a full-time Xfinity schedule for the team, Justin Haley transitioning over to Rick Ware Racing for 2024 and a crew-chief swap that sees Matt Swiderski out, the team loses a sense of continuity it has built from its first two seasons racing full-time. Kaulig will head into the season with a replenished driver lineup with Daniel Hemric as its lone full-time driver, bringing strong experience vital to maintaining consistent results over the fierce Cup Series season.
DANIEL HEMRIC, NO. 31 CHEVROLET
Experience: One full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series.
2023 Stats: Eighth in final Xfinity standings; 0 wins, 6 top fives, 18 top 10s
2024 championship odds (DraftKings): 400-1
Outlook: After spending the last two seasons in Kaulig’s Xfinity program, Hemric is being called up to return to NASCAR’s premier level, filling the seat that was left by Haley. Hemric is not much of a newbie to the Cup Series, with a steady full-time season back in 2019 with Richard Childress Racing, when he earned Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. He also made an additional nine Cup starts with Kaulig Racing in 2022.
Hemric has been relentless in finding a full-time Cup ride since parting ways with RCR, proving through success in the Xfinity Series he can make waves in the Cup Series by being back on the grid. He earned Xfinity Series champion status in 2021, winning the title race right at the wire. Since then, he has remained an Xfinity championship contender, netting nine top fives and 32 top 10s with Kaulig in Xfinity over the past two seasons.
NO. 16 CHEVROLET
AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 16 Chevrolet to open the season at the Daytona 500. Allmendinger has had a small run of success at Daytona, tallying six top-10 finishes in his last eight starts at Daytona, three of those in the “Great American Race.”
Travis Mack will be on top of the pit box for the No. 16 team this season, serving a dual role as both crew chief and technical director of Kaulig’s Cup teams. Mack spent the last three seasons with Trackhouse Racing’s No. 99 team and won his first Cup Series race with Daniel Suárez at Sonoma Raceway in 2022. Mack will be able to bring a new perspective to Kaulig as he will be tasked with rebuilding the Cup program that aims to be more competitive.
BOLD PREDICTION: Daniel Hemric will finish in the top 20 of the final drivers’ standings at the end of the year. After spending four years out of Cup — and hungry to be back — Hemric’s second act bodes to be more statistically impressive than his 2019 rookie campaign. To his benefit, Hemric does have nine total starts in a Next Gen car. He was a part of the No. 16 seat rotation back in 2022 with Allmendinger and Gragson, which means he has some familiarity with what he will be driving.
Additionally, Hemric can lean on Allmendinger, who will be in a crucial role for both Cup and Xfinity this year as Kaulig’s lone race-winning driver in the former. Hemric will be paired with Trent Owens, a well-seasoned crew chief who has been a foundational piece since Kaulig began running full-time in Cup. The blueprints are there for a driver who has been in the team’s pipeline for the last two years to achieve fresh results in the new year.
NASCAR.com 2024 team previews schedule
Jan. 15: Legacy Motor Club
Jan. 16: Spire Motorsports
Jan. 17: Kaulig Racing
Jan. 18: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 22: Rick Ware Racing
Jan. 23: Richard Childress Racing
Jan. 24: Stewart-Haas Racing
Jan. 25: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 26: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 29: Trackhouse Racing
Jan. 30: RFK Racing
Feb. 6: 23XI Racing
Feb. 7: Joe Gibbs Racing
Feb. 8: Hendrick Motorsports
Feb. 9: Team Penske