NBA basketball legend, along with NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin, is starting a new Cup Series team to begin competition in 2021 with Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. as driver.
Jordan is the majority owner. Hamlin is minority owner, as he continues to pilot the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Jordan becomes the first African-American majority team owner in the Cup Series since NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott drove his own car in the 1960s and early 1970s, while Wallace continues to be the only African-American driver to compete full-time in the series since Scott.
“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. “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.”
The new team owners aren’t ready to announce details regarding manufacturer, car number, sponsors, etc. Wallace, though, likely will bring sponsors with him from Richard Petty Motorsports. The new team will have a charter for the 2021 season, having bought Germain Racing’s sponsor. Germain Racing will shut down at the end of the 2020 season.
“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.”
Wallace will finish the 2020 season in the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet. He has driven the car since 2018, his entire time as a full-time Cup Series driver, to date. In 105 races, he has three top-five finishes, including a career-best second in the 2018 Daytona 500.
Wallace also is a six-time winner in 48 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. He has contested 85 NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
“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.”
Hamlin will continue to drive the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.