AJ Allmendinger will be busy at Daytona International Speedway to start the racing season beginning with the Rolex 24.
For the second consecutive season Allmendinger will compete in the Rolex 24 along with broadcasting duties for the race when he’s not in the car. He will co-drive the Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing No. 57 Acura NSX GT3 with Misha Goikhberg, Alvaro Parente and Trent Hindman.
“Always looking forward to it,” Allmendinger told MRN. “It’s a great race and last year it was a little bit different just like this year will be with part of the NBC broadcast. It makes it a lot of fun. I didn’t sleep much anyways during that event and definitely don’t sleep now.
“As a racing fan I love the race just because whether its drivers that I have raced against in the past or continue to race against or now just guys that I have always loved watching on TV. Being able to compete against them that’s what makes the Rolex 24 so special.”
The Rolex 24 presents Allmendinger with challenges both inside and outside of the car.
“The last couple years being in the GTD class we are the slower traffic so it makes it a challenge,” Allmendinger said. “It’s even more difficult because you are always looking behind. We have spotters, but it keeps you on your toes. It’s a fun challenge.
“Calling the race there’s a lot of names to learn. Its drivers from all over the world so trying to pronounce some of the names.
Allmendinger won the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 in 2012 with Shank Racing and fellow drivers Oswaldo Negri, John Pew and Justin Wilson in a prototype. Overall, he has four podium finishes with the last coming in 2018 in GTD.
Following the Rolex 24, Allmendinger will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona with Kaulig Racing. After that race he will cover the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship along with other responsibilities for NBC.
“I did American Flat Track and I think I’ll cover that again and I did some NASCAR America, I’ll probably do some of that again,” Allmendinger said. “But right now we are going over all of those schedules and figuring out what it will look like.”
Last year, Allmendinger transitioned to broadcasting along with racing part time, which included five Xfinity races with Kaulig. Right now, Allmendinger only has Daytona secured for this season in the third entry for the team that fields cars for Ross Chastain and Justin Haley.
“I think I have a fairly good idea of what it’s going to look like but we are still kind of piecing it together,” Allmendinger said about the schedule. “Matt Kaulig is just a great team owner, brings such a fun energy to the race track. It’s competitive equipment. This year I think they are going to be strong contention for the championship…so hopefully I’ll get to do a few races in the third car and that’s going to start at Daytona we know that.”
Allmendinger has made 37 combined superspeedway starts in the NASCAR Cup Series with his last coming at Talladega in 2018 resulting in a sixth-place finish with JTG Daugherty Racing. His first superspeedway start in Xfinity came last July in his first race with Kaulig. Allmendinger led 33 laps in that race and crossed the finish line in third, but was disqualified following post-race inspection.
“Speedway racing I have been pretty good at,” Allmendinger said. “I can’t say it’s the most enjoyable thing I have ever done in my life. But when I went back to the Daytona for the Xfinity race in July last year just realizing how fast the cars are….it made it some of the most fun I ever had on superspeedway racing. Looking to getting there in February and hopefully at that point I’ll have another Rolex watch.”