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The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press


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The Curious Case of AJ Allmendinger’s 2024 Plans


This past Sunday, October 8th, 2023, the NASCAR Cup Series witnessed yet another driver snap a win-less streak. Los Gatos, California’s AJ Allmendinger snapped a win-less streak of over two years in the Bank of America Roval 400 after holding off hometown boy William Byron in the closing stages of the race. Plenty of people thought that this may have saved him from demotion, but sources have been saying that Allmendinger could still get that demotion down to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He was dominating and winning races in his two full seasons with Kaulig Racing and their Xfinity Series program from 2021-2022. The reason for the possibility of demotion? Sponsorship issues and lack of funding. The big question is, where will Allmendinger go next season, and what is expected of him?

The Cup Series Path

Allmendinger has publicly stated that he prefers to race Cup in 2024. However, he will do whatever Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice, the bosses over at Kaulig Racing, tell him what to do. His Cup Series career has had some pros and cons over the roughly sixteen years he’s been competing in the series. The pros? He has three career Cup Series wins. The cons? Well, there are plenty of cons. First, the tracks he’s won at include Watkins Glen, Indianapolis Road Course, and Charlotte Roval. Those tracks are all road courses, which means that Allmendinger has never won on an oval in the Cup Series. If he decides to continue Cup racing next year, expectations include running better on those ovals and fighting for a spot in the playoffs, but most importantly, attracting a long-term sponsor. For the majority of his career, Allmendinger has had to rely on team partners as a form of sponsorship, which 

File:A.J. Allmendinger New Hampshire 2017.jpg
Allmendinger at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2017).

is not a positive thing if you want to get or retain a ride in NASCAR. Keep in mind that Allmendinger is also forty-one years of age, which means that having a ride in NASCAR probably won’t last for too much longer. He is around the age where most drivers hang up the helmet nowadays.

The Flip Side of Things

If Kaulig wants AJ to return to Xfinity for “trophy hunting,” as they dub it, it could provide AJ with not only a chance to finally win a championship in NASCAR, but to contribute to a comeback, 180 degree change in performance by the ’24 season. However, just because he could return to Xfinity in this dimension doesn’t mean that he is guaranteed to set the competition ablaze. Take a look at fellow Xfinity Series driver, Cole Custer. After three years of struggling in the Cup Series with only one win and a Rookie of the Year award in 2020, Cole was demoted to the Xfinity Series in favor of Ryan Preece, and he has only scored two wins this season so far. This is arguably below expectations for Custer, as he was one of the favorites to win the Xfinity Series championship back in 2019 with a seven-win season, but came up short to Tyler Reddick in the standings. His two wins also come on only road courses! A move to the Xfinity Series would more likely benefit AJ Allmendinger on those ovals than staying in the Cup Series for 2024.

File:A.J. Allmendinger (52199729417).jpg
Allmendinger at the 2022 Henry 180 Race.

 Allmendinger has six wins on ovals and eleven wins on road courses in the Xfinity Series over the course of his career, which is definitely a fair split. More experience in the lower series will definitely translate into the future because of the talent being weaker in these types of series compared to the prestigious NASCAR Cup Series. Expectations for AJ in Xfinity are limited to two things: dominate and run up front on each type of track as well as be a strong contender for the championship. He may not need money to buy happiness after all, but he will need to enhance his talent to earn the happiness he seeks in NASCAR racing.



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