Denny Hamlin Reveals Crew Chief for Bubba Wallace and Other Key Details About 23XI Racing

Published 10/31/2020, 6:00 AM EDT
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 02: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Covert Auto Group Chevrolet, walks on the grid during the Salute to Veterans Qualifying Day Fueled by The Texas Lottery for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

All the details are slowly falling in place for Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan’s new NASCAR team. Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 23, red and white Toyota for 23XI Racing next year. Just moments after Hamlin and Wallace released the look of the car, Hamlin revealed that Mike Wheeler will be the Crew Chief for Wallace’s team.


Article continues below this ad

Hamlin also said that the new team will operate out of Germain Racing’s office for the next season. Germain is set to leave NASCAR at the end of the season. This is just a temporary arrangement for 23XI Racing, as they will work on more permanent options through the 2021 season.


Article continues below this ad

Other specifics about 23XI Racing

Additionally, the cars will come from Joe Gibbs Racing along with Toyota engines. The Joe Gibbs Racing tie-up was always expected because of Hamlin’s association and was made official on Friday. JGR will have resources at their disposal after affiliate Leavine Family Racing will vacate their cars after this season.

There is no confirmation yet on whether the cars for Wallace will come from the No. 95 team at Leavine.

The sponsorship for the 23 team was not announced, but Hamlin said they expect a primary sponsor on board for at least 20 races next year.

SPARTA, KENTUCKY – JULY 12: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, races Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, during the NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway on July 12, 2020 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Hamlin’s tryst with Toyota

Speaking about Toyota’s involvement, Hamlin admitted he had no doubts over who he wanted the manufacturer for his team to be.

I know how they support their teams. And when I decided to move to team ownership, I knew that I wanted Toyota to be alongside our team.

“Toyota supports my vision with this team and will be integrated with our team members to support us as we grow and strive to achieve race wins and championships,” Hamlin said.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Bubba Wallace lands an experienced Crew Chief


Article continues below this ad

Coming to the Crew Chief, Wheeler will have a sort of reunion with Hamlin. Wheeler was Hamlin’s Crew Chief for a few races in 2014, and then full seasons from 2016 to 18. The two split after the 2018 season and Wheeler moved to Leavine Family Racing in 2019.

He was Matt DiBenedetto’s Crew Chief for a year and then the competition director for the current season.

Wallace will make his debut with 23XI Racing at the iconic Daytona 500 next year. Until then, the few remaining details about the team will also be revealed soon.


Article continues below this ad


Here Is a Look at the Car Bubba Wallace Will Drive for 23XI Racing in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Season

8 months ago


Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.