Why did AJ Allmendinger decide to ditch Richmond Cup practice and qualifying to race in the Xfinity series?

AJ Allmendinger is 17th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with five races remaining in the regular season.


Why did AJ Allmendinger decide to ditch Richmond Cup practice and qualifying to race in the Xfinity series?

AJ Allmendinger (Credits: Sean Gardner)

Kaulig Racing No.16 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driver AJ Allmendinger has taken an unusual decision. He is 17th in the NASCAR Cup championship standings and 17 points behind in the playoff, with only five races left in the regular season. Though it is a crucial time to focus on the playoff, Allmendinger has decided to participate in an Xfinity Series road course race. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The 41-year-old will fly to Wisconsin to compete in the Road America NASCAR Xfinity race on Saturday and fly to Richmond, Virginia, for the Cup race, Cook Out 400, on Sunday. Hence, the Kaulig driver will miss practice and qualifying at Richmond. As a result, he will start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field. Meanwhile, Part-time Truck and Xfinity Series driver Derek Kraus will replace Allmendinger for the two sessions. 

With only five regular season races remaining, one would think that AJ Allmendinger’s priority would be to collect points in the Cup Series for the playoffs, as he has a high chance of making it. However, the 41-year-old has his reasons. He revealed that team owners Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice decided that they wanted to do this. This is the direction they wanted to go, and Allmendinger looks forward to it. 

Related: Female sportscar racing star Katherine Legge set for a NASCAR return with struggling Xfinity Series team

ADVERTISEMENT

AJ Allmendinger claims he can move forward in Richmond despite starting from the back

AJ Allmendinger (Credits: The Athletic)
AJ Allmendinger (Credits: The Athletic)

Allmendinger gave a statement regarding his decision to run an Xfinity race and skip the Cup practice and qualifying session. He stated, “Richmond is a place that, with this car, especially, we probably struggled at, so in a way, whether we practice 20 minutes, at times, it doesn’t make a huge difference. Starting in the back is a challenge, but I think Richmond is the race track that if we have the setup right, you can still move forward.”

Allmendinger added, “So there was really talk about it but we want to enjoy it and have fun while doing it. It is a part of it. I love Xfinity and road courses in general. However, the race is going to play out the same way, the same or middle of the pack.” He claimed that some people might not understand his decision, but this is what he wants to do. 

It is safe to say that AJ Allmendinger wants to pursue what he loves. He stated that he would put pressure on himself in Road America and wants to have fun driving a road course. Allmendinger claimed Matt Kaulig presented him with an opportunity to run Road America, and he did not want to miss it. He believes he can do a good job in Richmond as well. Well, Allmendinger has a hectic weekend ahead of him, and there is no doubt he’ll try to maximize the points. 

In case you missed it:

ADVERTISEMENT