GREENSBORO, N.C. — NBA legend Michael Jordan and race car driver Denny Hamlin are teaming up to form a new NASCAR Cup Series race team.
The team will begin competition for the 2021 season. NASCAR star Bubba Wallace has signed a multi-year deal to drive the car.
"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," he said.
Jordan will serve as the owner of the new team with Hamlin as a minority partner. Hamlin will continue to drive the No. 11 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," 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. Plus, Michael and Bubba can be a powerful voice together, not only in our sport, but also well beyond it," he said.
Jordan will become the first Black majority owner of a full-time race team in NASCAR’s premier series since NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott owned and raced his own car.
"This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career," Wallace said.
"Both Michael and Denny are 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 Michael and Denny believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them," he said.
The name, car number, manufacturer, sponsors and other details for the new team will be announced at a future date.