Photo: Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing

2018 Cup Series Season Preview: AJ Allmendinger

By Beth Lunkenheimer, NASCAR Contributor

Editor’s note: Motorsports Tribune will be previewing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season for the top-30 drivers in the series leading into next month’s 60th running of the Daytona 500.

Age: 36

Years in Cup: 10

Career Wins: One Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Win; Two Xfinity Series Wins

For the fifth consecutive season, AJ Allmendinger will return to JTG Daugherty Racing for the 2018 season. The driver of the No. 47 Chevrolet finished the 2017 season 27th in the points standings and ended the year with a single top five (third at Daytona) and five top 10s. The new year brings a new paint scheme for Allmendinger, though Kroger and the grocery chain’s “Click List” sponsorship remain with the organization.

Before the season even begins, Allmendinger will be on track at Daytona International Speedway. For the fourth time in five years, he’ll run the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with Michael Shank Racing.

“I am pumped to be back racing for Shank in the 24!” Allmendinger said in a team release. “I missed the race last year and I hated to, so I’m really glad to be back. His whole team did an awesome job with the Acura last year and it is awesome to be back with him for the Rolex.

“After racing for the overall win so many years in Prototypes, it will be a completely different experience to be racing in the GTD class, but I’m looking forward to it. Mike (Shank) always puts an awesome team together and this year is no different so I am counting down to get my first shot in this car.”

As far as NASCAR is concerned, Allmendinger is signed with JTG through the 2020 season and will likely remain with the organization until at least that point. The new technical alliance with Hendrick Motorsports that began late last season and resulted in a top-10 finish for teammate Chris Buescher at Kansas Speedway last fall should bode well for Allmendinger as the team transitions to the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

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Beth is a contributing writer for Motorsports Tribune. Having started writing on a whim in mid-2005 with, Beth has been covering NASCAR at the track since 2008. She has also contributed work to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.