As AJ Allmendinger heads into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with a chance to score his first-career NASCAR National Series championship, there are increasing rumors that the current driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing car in the NASCAR Xfinity Series could be moving to the team’s No. 16 car in the NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2023.
Kaulig Racing was seen as one of the front runners in the Kyle Busch sweepstakes before Busch ultimately decided on moving to Richard Childress Racing for the 2023 season. With Busch moving elsewhere, it has opened up the rumor mill to all sorts of potential suitors for the No. 16 car.
During NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Media Day on Tuesday, Allmendinger, 40, was asked about whether he would be open to running the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023.
“Yeah, I’d be open to it,” Allmendinger responded. “We haven’t really even discussed a lot of it. It’s — I think it’s always about what Matt [Kaulig]especially Matt and Chris [Rice], what they think the right direction of the race team is. But I’m open to whatever they want. But I haven’t pushed or talked to them about it. Whatever their plans need to be, then I’m on board.”
With Allmendinger’s road racing pedigree and his veteran experience in NASCAR in general, he would be an excellent candidate for full-time racing. Overall, Allmendinger has two NASCAR Cup Series wins in his career, including Kaulig Racing’s first-ever Cup Series win, which came at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in 2021.
This season, the native of Los Gatos, California has a top-five and five top-10 finishes through 13 starts in the NCS ranks.
Whether Allmendinger will actually end up being the teammate to Justin Haley at Kaulig during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season remains to be seen, but as that all is being figured out, Allmendinger will focus his mind on chasing a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
Allmendinger ended the NXS regular season as the point leader and it marks the second-consecutive season that he won the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season championship. However, this year it seems Allmendinger has been even better than in 2021.
He has three wins through the opening 26 races, but the most impressive thing is that he has already surpassed his total number of top-10 finishes from 2021 (22) as he already has 23 top-10s.
Allmendinger has an average finish of 6.4 this season, and he factors to be the only driver who can truly go toe-to-toe with JR Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing.