Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin Form New NASCAR Cup Series Team; Bubba Wallace To Drive



Michael Jordan (left) and Denny Hamlin (right) (Photo: Courtesy of Denny Hamlin/Facebook)

Veteran racer Denny Hamlin and legendary basketball player Michael Jordan announced Monday they will partner to form a NASCAR Cup Series team to begin racing in the 2021 season with Bubba Wallace as their driver.

Jordan also owns the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA. Wallace is the only black driver competing full-time in the Cup Series. He announced recently that he would leave Richard Petty Motorsports after this season.

“Eleven years ago I met Michael Jordan at a then Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends,” Hamlin wrote on Facebook. “Not long after, I joined Jordan as the Jordan Brand’s first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years and now we are ready to take it to the next level. 

“Tonight, I’m excited to announce that MJ and I are starting a new, single car NASCAR Cup Series team for 2021. Deciding on a driver was easy – it had to be Bubba Wallace.”

Hamlin – who competes in the Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing – and Jordan have long been close friends. Hamlin will continue to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“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,” Jordan was quoted saying by ESPN. “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.”

Wallace has 105 Cup Series starts with Richard Petty Motorsports. He has five top-10 finishes this year.

“Bubba has shown tremendous improvement since joining the Cup Series and we believe he’s ready to take his career to a higher level,” Hamlin wrote. “He deserves the opportunity to compete for race wins and our team will make sure he has the resources to do just that. Off the track, Bubba has been a loud voice for change in our sport and our country. MJ and I support him fully in those efforts and stand beside him.”

Comments

  1. This is fantastic news!!!!!!!

  2. Great news indeed. Denny and NJ being the mega stars they are, giving Bubba the opportunity to compete in cup. Wonder if this deal involves the #95 team, as it’s a chartered team which would ensure Bubba competes in every race next year. Either way great news

  3. The article on NASCAR says that they have reached an agreement to acquire a charter from Germain Racing.

  4. Ok so they’ve got a charter. Wonder what manufacturer they’re going with. Denny Hamlin being involved would make me think Toyota, with a Gibbs affiliation, but there are some good Chevy teams to be associated with also. Hoping that this deal puts Bubba in better equipment, but there have been times this year he’s been fast in essentially RCR stuff. Decisions decisions.

  5. It’ll be really cool if they can use #23!

  6. A fifth, sixth, a couple ninths and 23rd in points. A few moments but not good at all really.. The moment with Petty standing with him as the noose storm was breaking was memorable regardless of how it all evolved. Petty has a few bigoted quotes in his past so that was kind of a game changer.
    Petty Enterprise. Tough to walk away from that one.
    Does this new team represent a new paradigm in ownership? Jordan’s name alone is a headliner and one would think money will not be an issue. So what a lot of teams have a lot of money and that’s just a prerequisite to success not a key to attaining it. Jordan isn’t a racing guy and Hamlin has a day job already so who will captain this new ship to the promised land? New shop, engines,, chassis, organizational structure and every itty bitty little detail a new operation needs to addressed. What are the expectations in the first year?
    So they get a charter. A lot of mediocre teams have charters don’t we know all to well. The Cup series hierarchy is controlled by a group of royal families that have all the technical and marketing keys to the kingdom. An oligarchy so to speak. How are a couple part timers going to navigate that maize to get top finishes?
    Sure the Jordan thing is great as is name recognition of one of the biggest black sports personalities in the history of sports. But in the end the goal is to compete at the front. Is this a winning formula to get to victory lane or something more. To get good finishes but also to change hearts and minds. My guess it would be more the latter then the former.

  7. Doug;
    Agreed with all you said.
    I love silly season and love to speculate.
    42 issue been settled. 20 issue been settled.
    So here is my speculation in how this new team would possibly have some sort of viable chance of shaking out.
    Now when the 95 went, the article at the time said Spire motorsports got everything ( including charter) except all the Toyota/JGR equipment, support and jigs. They (according to the piece) went back to JGR. Now I’m sure that Toyota would probably jump at the chance for another team. Given the “politics” surrounding this new team, maybe the old LeVine 95 JGR support et al; and Toyota to this new team? I would speculate Toyota would want a new Minority stake holder (that being Hamlin already in Toyota camp) to be in the Toyota camp as well. Well, just speculation but thats how I’m thinking.
    Other notables from this,
    Another driver with hat in ring this silly season due to the Germain events, Ty Dillon. Never saw that coming. But who knew Germain was selling their charter and getting out? I bet the garage probably had an idea…
    On another note,
    Preece solid ninth at Bristol. Ok, lap down but reason to be positive after his dismal season. You know, I am alone on this, but given lack of top tier rides, I’d be interested to see if he could do anything in the 43 if that were to come to pass. Bowyer not yet resigned, And 48 still open. I would be inclined to think Jones would end up in either of those. Fingers still crossed for Preece, as JTG has been mum on status for next year (far as I know anyway) anyway, just speculating…

  8. Is It A Hoax ? Or is It For Real?

  9. Reg;
    I don’t think it is a hoax If anyone wants to be cynical, then maybe, just maybe, it’s a quick cash in on a political climate that will bring you sponsorship:cash. But that’s the cynical view only. In the nascar press releases, one of the things Jordan stressed was his early upbringings of going to North Carolina tracks when he was a-kid with his folks. If its in his blood, then this is great. I wish him ( them) success, and may the BEST team win!!!!!

  10. It’s hard not to be cynical about all the movement going on now. Leavine and Germain going out of business after the season selling their most important assets the charter. Germain’s cars and equipment going back to Childress. See that’s the problem right there. What is that anyway rent-a-racecar. Kiss the ring of one of the oligarchs, they’ll let you pay them to lease some of their equipment and participate in races with them just as long as you aren’t better. I don’t pretend to know all the in and outs of the Cup series but if it’s about competition that business model is rigged and sucks.
    Woe is me. Germain and Leavine are out of racing what will we do. Not to worry the charters live on, Spire and a sports legends take their spots and the status quo remains.
    Lame duck Germain driver Ty Dillions says “The model is very tough right now for single-car teams,”. Geeze ya think as Spire goes to two cars. The notion that the new Jordan/Hamlin venture will be a Toyota team and get their “cars and equipment” from Childress would be more of a shock if it didn’t happen is my guess. Hamlin acknowledges that the single car team is challenged while driving for one of the oligarchs that will probably supply the equipment for the new marquee team that really will be just like all the other cars down pit road depending on alms from the oligarchs for the existence.
    The current reality is the the system as flawed as it is cannot be changed. NASCAR, the manufacturers, oligarchs, TV networks and advertisers all know and depend on the system to not change especially in the troubled times the sport is in. . A second class team can surprise in a wreck fest on a big track but never has a chance to consistently get good finishes based on hard work, brains and grit like an Alan Kulwicki or Ricky Craven.
    So we’ll get this yammering about the single car business model being “challenged” and the Jordan/Hamlin team having all the resources to compete and it’s all nonsense. They like every other one or two car team beholding to the oligarchs will take their place in the pecking order, talk a good story for the fans and next year the standings once again will be dominated at the top by the oligarchs multi car teams. But they have a “charter” with advertiser guaranteed to see the logo on race day. Everyone knows their rolls, competes within the windows of the tier and are just glad to be in the bigs.
    I would love for any of you to show me how that bitter assessment is completely ignorant.

  11. Hard to argue the point about a flawed business model. But once in a while lightning does strike and it seems to work.
    Someone please correct me if I have this wrong, but didn’t Barney Visser essentially do just that in 2017 when Martin Truex took the #78 Furniture Row racing Toyota with support from Toyota/Gibbs alliance and won 7 races and a championship that year? If I am incorrect about that, then I need to pay greater attention to detail I guess.

  12. Well that’s good to read. Still it seems more like the rare exception that proves the rule.

  13. Doug;
    I agree. Rare exception, and what you said about the business model (for the other 99% or so single car teams with alliances ) Is true. While performance does seem to improve a bit, it’s a very rare exception, ( or cold day in h..l ) it morphs into “top tier”.

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