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AJ Allmendinger to run full schedule for Kaulig Racing in 2021

A.J. Allmendinger overtakes Chase Briscoe, who spins out, on the restart and navigates through worsening weather conditions to win the Drive for the Cure 250 in overtime at the Charlotte Roval.

After contributing to Kaulig Racing’s best season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, AJ Allmendinger will return to the team in 2021 and run the entire season.

Allmendinger announced Sunday he would return to the team. Kaulig Racing announced Tuesday that Allmendinger would run the full schedule in the No. 16 car.

“As a part time driver for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity series, I have really enjoyed working with all the women and men in the organization these past two years,” Allmendinger said in a statement from the team. “The love of showing up to NASCAR races has returned for me, and I truly have enjoyed myself on and off the racetrack. It starts with Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice. I can’t thank them enough for giving me a call at the start of 2019 and offering me races that continued into 2020. More than anything, I have really loved being part of the team and watching the growth of the organization, and because of that, the opportunity to come back full-time in 2021 was something I just could not pass up.”

“Having AJ race full-time for Kaulig Racing will only elevate our program to another level,” said Chris Rice, president of Kaulig Racing, in a statement from the team. “I truly believe his veteran experience has helped us in every race he has ever run with us, and that is evident in his finishes. I’m sure he will complement our other two great drivers we already have, as he’s been a great teammate since day one. I love the challenge in front of us to go after the championship in 2021 with all three of our drivers.”

Allmendinger said Tuesday that he will continue in his role as a motorsports analyst for NBC Sports. He said the number of events he’ll broadcast, particularly with the IMSA Series, is to be determined.

This past season, Allmendinger scored two wins and eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts driving Kaulig’s No. 16 Chevrolet.

In June, Allmendinger came from 30th on the starting grid to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway and claim his first Xfinity victory on an oval.

Then in October, his road racing prowess came to the forefront in rainy conditions at the Charlotte Motor Speedway roval.

On the final restart, he took the lead after a spin from Chase Briscoe and went on to the win - sliding across the finish line in a downpour.

Allmendinger has made it a point to enjoy his success now, as opposed to when he won regularly during the tail end of his Indy-car career.

For 2021, he’ll look for more trophies while partnering with the returning Justin Haley and Kaulig newcomer Jeb Burton.

Haley and Allmendinger combined to claim all five of Kaulig Racing’s wins in 2020. Haley ultimately made the Championship 4 at Phoenix, and finished third in points.

“Kaulig Racing has come such a long way in only a few short years,” said team owner, Matt Kaulig in a statement. “We started this team in 2016 and have made the playoffs every year. This year we stepped up even more, and had two cars in the playoffs with one in the Championship 4 at Phoenix. With AJ Allmendinger added to our stable, and three fantastic drivers, we will have an even better chance at the championship.”