Earlier this year, we spoke to Denny Hamlin about the rumors that eventually led to him joining forces with Michael Jordan to start the 23XI Racing NASCAR Cup Series team two years ago today.
NASCAR Cup Series team ownership has been on Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin’s mind for a few years in the 2020 season.
NBA legend Michael Jordan, Hamlin’s longtime friend, was often an individual who many thought would also enter the sport in that capacity, although for a number of years he dismissed these conversations and admitted that he simply wanted to enjoy the sport as a fan.
But in the summer of 2020, a A rumor appeared That Hamlin and Jordan would join forces and take a stake in Richard Petty Motorsports along with Bubba Wallace, who was the team’s 43rd Chevrolet driver at the time.
Obviously, this didn’t quite happen as expected, even though one source called it “everything is closed”.
But Jordan joined NASCAR as a team owner after all, joining Team Hamlin to start the 23XI race exactly two years ago today (named at a later date), and the team hired Wallace as driver for Toyota’s #23 for 2021, buying a charter from the now-defunct Germain Racing.
The reason this was all exposed the way it was done was rumors – and the desire to turn “fake news” into “real news”.
In Netflix Docuseries Race: Bubba WallaceHamlin states that he read This article He took up the rumor and sent it to Jordan – although he discussed it at the time.
“I wanted to run a company,” Hamlin said. “For me, team ownership is something that really piqued my interest. Then a news article came out, kind of, uh… one that wasn’t really real, and it says well, ‘The current NASCAR driver, Denny Hamlin, and Michael Jordan are looking to buy a stake.'” And I think It was just a speculative article.”
It made Hamlin start to think.
“I’ll never forget, I was on the ninth hole on the golf course at my house, and I’m like, ‘Should I send Michael this article?'” Let me get his temperature here. And I sent it to him.” He replied immediately. He says, “Haha,” you know, “Obviously, fake news. Not real. But if you want to make it real news, let me know.”
The rest is history.
Hamlin admitted he would never have imagined things would go the way they did, in terms of starting a new team with Jordan.
However, he admitted that he was looking into buying a stake in an existing team.
“No, certainly not at that time,” Hamlin said. beyond science in The interview was conducted earlier this season. “I couldn’t believe – you know, I was arguing even sending him to him – but I was really looking out for my own interests and looking to buy a minority stake in an already established team.”
Without the rumors – and without the article covering the rumors – things wouldn’t have ended the way they did.
“I never thought we’d start a team from scratch, and that’s basically what we did, which hasn’t been done in a really long time,” he continued. “No one we have, where do we start? We don’t have a building, where do we start? It’s very, very difficult to be involved in this sport and to be competitive anyway.
“But when you have to start from scratch in a short amount of time, it doesn’t leave you much room for error. So I never thought it was going to happen. I mean, two years ago… it wouldn’t have happened. It wasn’t on my radar. But things happen. Quick!Life comes to you quickly!”
23XI Racing has since added a second charter, acquiring it from now defunct StarCom Racing, and a second car, #45 Toyota, for 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Bosch, though he’s been sidelined since July with concussion-like symptoms.
Ty Gibbs served as his replacement, although he had recently moved to Wallace’s #23 Toyota, with Wallace moves over the #45 Toyota In the playoffs since the team is still the 45th in search of the owner’s championship thanks to Bush’s win at Kansas Speedway in May.
Wallace himself won the playoff race at Kansas Speedway earlier this month to finish the team number 45 in the 12th round, Despite the fact that it has already been eliminated.
The team recently signed Wallace to a long-term extension and also signed Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick for 2024, although Details of Reddick’s car have not been officially announced. Busch’s contract runs until 2023 and has an option for 2024, but His future is still uncertain due to his health concerns.