Chris Rice joined “The Morning Drive” on Sirius XM NASCAR radio on Wednesday morning, and his comments about a potential driver of the #16 car raised some eyebrows. Many fans immediately assumed that DiBenedetto was the driver heading to Kaulig Racing before things fell through. What exactly did Chris Rice have to say?
- Matt DiBenedetto became a free agent before the 2023 season ended. He announced he was leaving Rackley W.A.R. during the Truck Series Playoffs, and he was released from his contract three races early.
- Kaulig Racing has been working on filling the #16 car since A.J. Allmendinger was moved down to the Xfinity Series for 2024. Allmendinger will compete.in the Daytona 500 for the team, and fellow Xfinity Series driver, Josh Williams
- Fans on social media had already thought about DiBenedetto going to Kaulig Racing. Now, some fans feel their suspicions about it potentially happening was confirmed.
What Did Chris Rice Have to Say?
In the interview with Mike Bagley, Rice opened up about finding drivers for the #16 Kaulig Cup Series car. He admitted that a deal was all but done with one driver, but, it fell through. When pressed about who it was, Rice had this to say.
Well, you sign NDAs, but if you watch social media I think he’s been very candid about what happened with his partners. He’s announced it and he’s said it a couple of times. With the NDA, I don’t go about saying that kind of stuff. I respect people because I think people are good, but, I think we’re still in some conversations. Out of respect, no, I don’t really want to [disclose the potential driver], but if you watch social media it’s not hard to figure out.Chris Rice on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio
Now, if you connect the dots, there is one particular driver that has been “candid” about issues with potential partners. That would be Matt DiBenedetto, who claimed he had a deal signed with a sponsor, then, “They lied”.
Now, Rice did not specifically mention DiBenedetto, so, we don’t know for 100% certainty, but, we can speculate that, by a preponderance of the evidence, it seems likely that DiBenedetto to Kaulig could have happened. DiBenedetto may have been in the NASCAR Cup Series with Kaulig Racing for at least a few races in 2024 had the sponsor deal not lined up. Still, we do not know for sure.
What Does the Future Hold for Both?
As of right now, Kaulig Racing has only two drivers confirmed for their #16 car, A.J. Allmendinger, who will race at Daytona, and Josh Williams, who will race at the LA Coliseum and Atlanta. Kaulig Racing has only 3 of 38 races currently confirmed for the 2024 season for one of their chartered entries.
DiBenedetto still has nothing planned for 2024. He has no ride and no sponsor lined up for right now. It doesn’t seem impossible that he could end up with Kaulig Racing given that they still have plenty of races available.
Both sides come into 2024 with a lot of uncertainty. Could that have been partially a result of a deal between the two gone awry?