By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Denny Hamlin is a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. But in 2021, add team owner to his title.
No, he is not leaving Joe Gibbs Racing. Instead, he is partnering with NBA great Michael Jordan to start their own NASCAR team.
The team has received a charter in a deal with Germain Racing, who will leave the sport at the end of the season. Hamlin and Jordan have announced that Bubba Wallace will be the team’s new driver.
“Proud to announce that Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin are teaming up to start a Cup team in 2021, and I’m wheeling it,” Wallace said. “This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career. Michael and Denny are both great competitors and are focused on building the best team they possibly can to go out and compete for race wins.
“I’m grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”
Hamlin had to get special permission from NASCAR to own a team, while still competing. Wallace recently announced he was departing Richard Petty Motorsports after several seasons at the Cup Series level.
Wallace reportedly had a contract to sign with Chip Ganassi Racing to become the No. 42 driver. However, on Monday, the team elected to name Ross Chastain as their full-time driver.
Jordan – the great NBA player – is entering NASCAR for the first-time as a team owner. He’s not the only former NBA player to give it a shot.
Brad Daugherty – who goes back with Jordan to their North Carolina days – is part owner of JTG Daugherty Racing. The five-time NBA All-Star – all with the Cleveland Cavaliers – has been involved in NASCAR since the late 1990s.
He previously co-owned Liberty Racing and was a NASCAR on ESPN analyst. Daugherty has also been apart of several NASCAR shows, as well.
Hamlin said he and Jordan knew each other for the past 11 years. Jordan will be the majority owner, while Hamlin will be the minority owner, as long as he’s a Cup Series driver.
“11-years-ago, I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends,” Hamlin said. “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.
“Bubba has shown tremendous improvements since joining the Cup Series and we believe he’s ready to take his career to a higher level. 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 chance in our sport and our country. MJ and I support him fully in those efforts and stand behind him.”
The team will announce more details at a later date.
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