AJ Allmendinger will return to the NASCAR Cup Series on a full-time basis in 2023, Kaulig Racing announced Wednesday.
Allmendinger, 40, initially retired from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition in 2018 before returning to the NASCAR Xfinity Series for five races the following year. He will team alongside Justin Haley in the two-car Cup Series effort and drive the No. 16 Chevrolet.
"When I first went to Kaulig Racing to compete part-time in 2019 and 2020, I remember how I felt on the weekends that I wasn't racing and how much I missed it," Allmendinger said. "Competing full-time is a mentally tough battle at times. No matter how much work you put in as a driver, there's a chance you will not achieve success. For a while, I think I lost that competitive drive to be the best. Kaulig Racing helped me find that again. I now feel more competitive than ever and believe there is more success to be earned as a team."
Allmendinger won the Xfinity Series' Sparks 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday.
He has recorded one runner-up finish and five top-10 finishes in 13 starts in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series.
He is slated to compete Sunday at the Charlotte ROVAL for his final NASCAR Cup Series race of the 2022 season.
"I first called AJ in 2019 to ask if he would run a couple Xfinity Series races for us," said Chris Rice, president of Kaulig Racing. "He agreed to do five, and he was disqualified in the first two races. Although it was two, tough results, AJ saw what we were trying to build here at Kaulig Racing, and better yet, he believed in what we were building. After the success we've had together since then, we think the next step is for him to help us do the same with our young, Cup Series team."
--Field Level Media