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Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to start new NASCAR team

Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan
Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan. Photos: Ted Fleming | Speedway Tribune

Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan partner for a new NASCAR team to start in 2021 with Bubba Wallace as their driver

A new startup team will be joining the NASCAR Cup Series next year with a familiar name behind the wheel. Denny Hamlin and Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan will fire up a one-car yet-to-be-named team that will begin racing in 2021. The speculation started last Saturday night during the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway and confirmed Monday night by Hamlin on Twitter. He also announced that Bubba Wallace would join the team as its driver.

“Tonight, I’m excited to announce 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 @BubbaWallace,” Hamlin tweeted.

Wallace declined an extension offer from his current team, Richard Petty Motorsports, despite being offered a lucrative deal, including an ownership share of RPM. Since he stepped front and center of the confederate flag banning at NASCAR tracks and properties, he has signed several sponsorship deals. As a free agent at the end of the season, having those in hand would help him regardless of what team would sign him.

Denny Hamlin tweet

Denny Hamlin tweet

JORDAN BRINGS A LOT TO THE TABLE

But make no mistake. The Jordan Brand carries its own weight as he embarks on a new endeavor. He is the owner of the Charlott Hornets basketball team and will be the majority owner.

“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 said in a news release. “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.”

While there are no further details at this time, it is almost a sure bet that the Hamlin-Jordan team will add another partner as a satellite of Joe Gibbs Racing. One does not start a new organization without some blessing from his current and future boss. He signed a three-year extension with JGR last year.

An agreement is in place to purchase the charter of Germain Racing. When the team announced that its primary sponsor, Geico, would not be back, owner Bob Germain said everything was on the table, including its sale. It appears we have arrived at that moment.

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