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What’s Going on at Kaulig? Did A.J. Allmendinger’s Roval Win Secure His Cup Ride for 2024?

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A.J. Allmendinger took home the win at the Charlotte Roval last weekend, but he did not disclose his 2024 plans. Kaulig Racing has yet to disclose its own plans for that second car in 2024. What is going on at Kaulig Racing for 2024, and who could get that coveted Cup Series seat?

Was Allmendinger’s Roval Win Enough to Secure the Ride?

The short answer is likely no, but, the more realistic answer is that we still do not know what Kaulig’s 2024 plans are. The NBC broadcast during the race said that Allmendinger hoped to be in Cup in 2024, but, he would do whatever Kaulig Racing asked him to do. At the end of the day, he is a Kaulig Racing employee.

So, the question becomes what did the higher-ups at Kaulig Racing have to say, team president Chris Rice and team owner Matt Kaulig. Conveniently, they were both available post-race following the Charlotte Roval, and their comments said a lot while also not saying much at all.

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I think we’re pretty clear on what we’re doing, we just haven’t announced yet.

Matt Kaulig

Outside of that press conference, Jordan Bianchi discussed on the most recent episode of The Teardown (Around the 2-minute mark) a conversation that he had with Chris Rice prior to the press conference. Here is what Bianchi had to say.

I talked to Chris Rice before the press conference one on one, and [Bianchi] asked the question, ‘It’s not all about performance is it?’ [Rice] goes, ‘No, it’s not. It’s a lot about sponsorship dollars, and funding, and that kind of thing.’ That’s where there’s a gap right now. They just don’t have the funding in place for that 16 car…All indications are, and sources indicate that A.J. Allmendinger is probably going to be full-time in the Xfinity Series next year, running for Kaulig.

Jordan Bianchi

There we go. It seems that A.J. Allmendinger is going to the Xfinity Series for next season, and the question now becomes, who drives the 16 car for Kaulig in 2024?

The Candidates to Drive the 16 Car for Kaulig

As Chris Rice indicated, it really is going to come down to funding for who gets the 16 car. It seems that Matt Kaulig is not as willing to put up the funds with his businesses as he was in the past. It explains why Justin Haley is gone after this year, and it also means that whoever gets the next ride at Kaulig is not going to be the next hot prospect in the Truck or Xfinity Series.

Chandler Smith

Chandler Smith is the most obvious candidate for the ride because he has that perfect blend of performance and good funding along with already being in the building. He has been funded for 28 out of 29 Xfinity Series races so far and all three of his Cup Series entries by the same company, Quick Tie Inc., who has sponsored Smith since he was eight years old according to CEO Harvel Crumley.

He’s won an Xfinity Series race this year, and he has a respectable average finish of 14.3 in three Cup Series races this season. Add to that, when asked about Chandler Smith joining the team in the Cup Series in 2024, Chris Rice did not deny anything, rather telling the press to talk to Smith’s agent. The biggest drawback may be Smith’s youth, and whether or not Quick Tie would want to pony up the same amount of funding for a Cup Series season.

Ty Dillon

This may not be the flashiest pick by any means, but Ty Dillon does bring some funding with him. Partners like Ferris Mowers have helped to bring in extra money for Dillon this season. Yes, his performance has not been great throughout, really any of his Cup Series career.

However, he generally has been a driver throughout his career that brings his car home in one piece. Yes, he has struggled with that some over the last couple of years with that, but, if he can rekindle that, there’s a place for him somewhere. Maybe Kaulig is that place for him.

Riley Herbst

Yes, Herbst has zero connection to Kaulig Racing, but he also has funding from Monster Energy. He also has a couple of decent Cup Series runs on superspeedways for Front Row Motorsports. Herbst also has generally gotten decent results throughout his time in the Xfinity Series.

However, Herbst may have other plans in the works for 2024. One rumor is him going to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2024. If he already has other plans, is a Cup Series ride with Kaulig Racing enough to get him to potentially reconsider?

The question of who will drive 16 cars for 2024 for Kaulig Racing is an interesting one, but, it seems we are going to have to wait for the plans to officially be announced. Who will take that ride in 2024?

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