NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is coming to NASCAR.
Jordan and current NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin are forming a team, it was announced Monday night on social media. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, the only black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, will be the team’s driver. Wallace announced a couple of weeks ago that he would be leaving his current team, Richard Petty Motorsport, at the end of the season.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) September 22, 2020
Jordan will be only the second black owner in the NASCAR Cup series. His “Airness” joins former NBA player Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, as the only black owners in the Cup series. Hamlin will be a minority owner. The team’s name, manufacturer affiliation, car number, and sponsors will be announced later. The team will get the team charter from Germain 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 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.”
This partnership isn’t surprising since Hamlin and Jordan have been friends since they met 11 years ago. Hamlin has even been endorsed by the Jordan brand.
“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,” Hamlin said. “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.”
Wallace has made 105 starts in the Cup series, all for Richard Petty Motorsports. This season he has five top-10 finishes.
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