Dale Earnhardt Jr. Predicts ‘Very Difficult’ 2024 for 1 Cup Team and Confirms Its New Addition
Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets paid to share his thoughts on NASCAR. That sometimes includes making predictions. The Hall of Famer recently proved his prognostication skills are on point after predicting Ryan Blaney would win the Cup Series championship at the start of the 2023 playoffs.
With the season over, Junior started looking forward to the 2024 season in the season-ending episode of his popular weekly podcast. During that discussion, he painted a bleak picture for Kaulig Racing next year while also confirming a not-so-well-kept-secret on who will be the team’s second driver.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. predicts Kaulig Racing will struggle in 2024 with new drivers
Dale Earnhardt Jr. worked in the NBC broadcast booth from Phoenix to close out the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series campaign. He saw Ross Chastain win the race and Ryan Blaney capture his first championship. He also saw the two Kaulig Racing cars struggle mightily.
Earnhardt talked about the two-car team’s struggles on the mile-long track in the desert during the season finale episode of the Dale Jr. Download and made an unexpected statement.
“Daniel Hemric is coming back into the Cup Series with Kaulig. Ty Dillon’s going over there to run the second car,” Earnhardt said, stating a move that has been reported by multiple sources but not confirmed by the team. “Those cars struggled so badly at Phoenix. It was not good. I think this is going to be a very difficult year on the Cup side for Kaulig.”
Kaulig had mixed bag in 2023
For Kaulig Racing, the 2023 Cup season was a mixed bag, to say the least. The two cars of AJ Allmendinger and Justin Haley combined for 13 top-10 finishes. The veteran driver recorded seven of those results; four of them inside the top 5, including his win late in the year at the Charlotte Roval. Haley’s lone top 5 came on the Chicago Street Course.
Conversely, the Nos. 16 and 31 combined for 24 finishes of 25th or worse, including seven DNFs.
While Daniel Hemric didn’t run any Cup races in 2023, Ty Dillon completed his sixth full-time season and lone year with Spire Motorsports, where he recorded five top-15 results, his best, an 11th in the second race of the year at Daytona.
Earnhardt predicted a Ryan Blaney championship
Earnhardt predicting a rough 2024 season at Kaulig makes sense with Dillon’s lack of success in the Cup, including 10 top-10 finishes over his six years, and Hemric’s limited experience in NASCAR’s top series. But the NBC broadcaster’s words carry even more weight after his prediction to start the 2023 postseason.
Earnhardt was one of very few to suggest Ryan Blaney would win his first-ever title. This was especially bold in light of how the Team Penske driver concluded the regular season with a ninth-place finish, his best result in the final 10 races.
Blaney proved Earnhardt right by winning the title in Phoenix. Unfortunately, it’s very likely Kaulig Racing will prove Junior right in 2024.