Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin are wedding basketball and NASCAR.
The National Basketball Association great and owner of the Charlotte Hornets and the three-time Daytona 500 winner are combining to form a new NASCAR Cup Series race team to begin competition with the 2021 season, the pair announced Monday.
To add to the star power, Bubba Wallace has signed a multi-year contract to drive for the soon-to-be-named single car team.
“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.”
Wallace announced earlier this month that he would leave Richard Petty Motorsports before next year. Wallace had a career-best five top-ten finishes this season and signed multiple endorsement deals with Cash App, Beats by Dre and Doordash.