It’s been an amazing year for NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, but he’s been limited by his equipment at Richard Petty Motorsports to realistically compete at the highest levels of the sport.
That might not be an issue anymore however, as today Denny Hamlin and... drumroll... Michael Jordan (!!) announce they’ll be the owner of a new team that will have Wallace as their sole driver in 2021.
This is a “wow” moment for NASCAR, as getting the GOAT of basketball involved on the speedways can only bring sponsorship and attention for a sport in desperate need of eyeballs in the current corporate economic environment. Hamlin was the first NASCAR driver to be sponsored by Jordan’s Jumpman brand.
Hamlin is the best current driver in NASCAR to have never won the season-long championship, but that drought could possibly end in the next seven races. The future team owner sits 19 points behind Kevin Harvick for the top spot in 2020 driving the #11 FedEx for Joe Gibbs Racing, but next year he’ll have his own ride to worry about as well as that of his new driver.
MJ of course owns the Charlotte Bobcats too, who put out this release announcing their owner adding another sport to his portfolio.
“Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life,” said Jordan. “The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me. Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”
Jordan will serve as principal owner of the new team with Hamlin as a minority partner while he continues to drive the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Starting a race team has been something that Michael and I have talked about while playing golf together over the years, but the timing or circumstances were never really right,” said the 39-year-old Hamlin. “It just makes sense now to lay the foundation for my racing career after I’m done driving and also help an up-and-coming driver like Bubba take his career to a higher level. Plus, Michael and Bubba can be a powerful voice together, not only in our sport, but also well beyond it.”