Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan are starting a NASCAR Cup Series team together.
The single-car team, which is yet to be named, will debut in 2021. Jordan will be the principal owner and Hamlin a minority partner. Darrell Wallace Jr. has signed a multi-year deal to be the team’s driver.
“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.”
Said Hamlin, “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. 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.”
A car number, manufacturer, sponsors, and other details will be announced in the future. Wallace joins the team after three seasons driving for Richard Petty Motorsports.
“This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career,” said Wallace. “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.”
The team is assured entry into each race with the purchase of a charter from Germain Racing. Team owner Bob Germain is leaving the sport at the end of the season.
“Being a team owner in NASCAR for the last 16 years has been a thrilling adventure,” said Germain. “From winning two NASCAR Truck Series championships in 2006 and 2010 to competing at the highest level of motorsports in the Cup Series for the last 12 seasons, I have experienced the highs and lows of our sport. I’m extremely proud of what Germain Racing has accomplished at every level, and I will be transiting out of ownership with many memories and friendships. I appreciate the interest and offers made over the last couple of weeks, and I am excited to see how the sport continues to grow in the future.”
Germain began exploring his options after GEICO announced it will not be extending its sponsorship of the No. 13 Chevrolet. Ty Dillon has driven for the team since 2017.
“We proudly welcome Michael Jordan into the NASCAR family and look forward to watching Michael, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace compete in 2021,” read a statement issued by NASCAR. “Michael is an iconic sports figure and celebrated champion whose fiercely competitive nature has placed him among the greatest athletes of all time. His presence at NASCAR’s top level will further strengthen the competition, excitement and momentum growing around our sport. We wish Michael and his team tremendous success.”