AJ Allmendinger making Cup return at Daytona road course

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AJ Allmendinger, already set for a full-time return in the Xfinity Series, now is scheduled for his first Cup Series start since 2018.

Kaulig Racing announced Thursday that Allmendinger will drive its No. 16 Chevrolet in the second Cup race of the season at the Daytona International Speedway road course on Feb. 21.

“I am really looking forward to racing in the Cup Series once again, but more importantly, I am pumped to be racing in the Cup Series for Kaulig Racing,” said Allmendinger in a release.

“I keep wanting to help Kaulig Racing grow as much as possible, and the next step is racing in some Cup races with them.

“Daytona is a prestigious race track to compete at, whether you are on the oval or road course, so this is a great place for Kaulig Racing’s first non-superspeedway Cup race.”

Allmendinger ended his full-time Cup career following the 2018 season. His lone Cup win came on the road course at Watkins Glen International in 2014 for JTG Daugherty Racing.

Additionally, four of Allmendinger’s five career Xfinity wins have come on road courses, including back-to-back victories at the Charlotte Motor Speedway roval for Kaulig Racing in 2019 and 2020.

Allmendinger also serves as a motorsports analyst for NBC Sports.

“Having AJ compete in our very first non-superspeedway Cup race was really a no-brainer for us,” team president Chris Rice said.

“Kaulig Racing is honored to be able to be get AJ back into the Cup Series for the first time since his retirement. I think he will pick right back up where he left off as a road course ace.”

Thursday’s announcement builds on Kaulig Racing’s plans to run a limited Cup schedule this season along with its three full-time Xfinity programs for Allmendinger, Justin Haley, and Jeb Burton.

Kaz Grala is confirmed to drive the No. 16 entry as he attempts to make the Daytona 500 on Feb. 14.