According to the numbers the driver saw from NASCAR, the buzz around Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan forming a Cup Series team reached into the billions. But Hamlin and company remain tight-lipped about many of the details.
Announced in the late hours of September 21, Jordan will be the principal owner and Hamlin, the minority partner. Darrell Wallace Jr. will drive the car, and the team has purchased the Germain Racing charter.
Those are all the known details. Not even a team name or car number was given. Some sponsorship could come from any of the numerous deals Wallace picked up this year, and it’s assumed the team will have a partnership with Toyota given Hamlin drives one for Joe Gibbs Racing. However, lips are also closed on that side.
“That’s on the list of stuff to do,” Hamlin said Thursday. “We’ve not finished any manufacturer or alliance contracts. Everything is up in the air at this point.”
Hamlin declined even to speak about who is helping him get the team up and running. All he’d offer was that a former team president is working on an interim basis as Hamlin keeps focused on the remainder of the season.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to get done, but obviously we are kind of leaning on him to get the laundry list of things done over the next six to seven weeks while I’m continuing to focus on winning a championship,” he said. “We are getting the parts and the pieces together. I believe that we have the person in charge of the competition side that I want.
“Obviously, we have this other guy that’s working on all the executive stuff. He’s working really hard on that right now, so it’s coming together. The list is long, but they are knocking out things each and every day. I don’t know if I can or can’t share, so just probably not right now.”
Some of the boxes to check off the list will be equipment, a race shop, crew chief, and other essential team personnel and management.
Wallace said pre-race in Las Vegas that Jordan has told him “no more messing around” when it comes to next season. Jordan expects to compete at a high level from the get-go, and Hamlin believes there will be opportunities for the new team to win.
“I think there are things that I can work with Bubba on, on the driver’s side of things, to improve some parts of his game,” said Hamlin. “I think that our cars will be good but with new teams, it’s very hard to win. I’ve said this before — my teammate Kyle [Busch] is one of the best out there and hasn’t won yet in 2020. You need things to fall your way. You need to be good. You’ve got to have every piece of the puzzle right to win these races, but I don’t think that when we go to the racetrack next year that there will be any track where we will say that we can’t win here.
“The equipment will be good enough, I believe. We are putting the people in place that are good. I just do things the right way. I won’t ever do anything halfway, and I feel like we are going to build this thing from the ground up. It’s not going to happen in three months. We are not going to build an empire in three months, but certainly, we have visions in the years to come to build this into a big organization like Joe Gibbs Racing. I learned a lot from him. I think Tony [Stewart] learned a lot from him when he moved over to Haas and kind of took over over there and ran it. We want to kind of do that same thing and business philosophy that I’ve learned from Coach Gibbs.”