Denny Hamlin Suggests 23XI Racing Could Sign ‘Established Veteran’ NASCAR Driver in Future Expansion

Published 02/26/2021, 3:00 PM EST
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) makes a pit stop during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan co-owned 23XI Racing is just two races young in the NASCAR Cup Series. The team is riding all its hopes on their young star driver, Bubba Wallace, being a single-car outfit. However, Hamlin is already thinking of expansion and also has some ideas in his mind.

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A superstar NASCAR driver himself, Hamlin says the team is not just thinking of expanding, but they certainly want to do that sooner than later.
The new NASCAR team has tied-up with manufacturer Toyota for resources and equipment. Hamlin said that the 23XI Racing outfit wants to strengthen that association further and turn the team into a place where young Toyota drivers can run in NASCAR’s top series.

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Young Toyota driver or veteran NASCAR driver?

However, he is also open to signing an ‘established veteran’. “We’re trying our best to be the team that Toyota feels like they have a place for their young guys to go.
“Or maybe, we go for an established veteran who’s got a great resume,” Hamlin said during a media interaction recently.
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Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez (99) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
That makes things interesting as some of the top NASCAR drivers are nearing the end of their respective contracts with their current teams.
Many of them will be free agents at the end of this season or in a couple of years as well. One such top driver is Brad Keselowski, who is in the final year of his Team Penske contract.
Talking about when 23XI Racing’s expansion could come through, Hamlin said it is important to do it soon. The current no. 11 car driver feels that while expansion is a tough task, it brings many resources which are key for any team to grow faster.

Hey @DoorDash, wrapped and ready for @HomesteadMiami.#TeamToyota pic.twitter.com/BdldmSI1pj

— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) February 23, 2021

Denny Hamlin opens up on future expansion plans for 23XI Racing

“I’d like to expand as soon as possible. The quicker we expand, the more resources we will have as a race team to get better. The better people that we can hire.
“Everything gets better, the more information that you can throw into the pot,” Hamlin said further.
Hamlin, Jordan, and Co. now have a great experience of what it takes to start a new team. Hamlin detailed the order of priority for things to fall in place.
“So, when it makes sense for us, is when it financially makes sense for us. It’s about getting a sponsor, and a driver, and a crew chief first. Those three things have all got to line up. Then you’ve got to try and find a charter,” Hamlin continued.

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BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 06: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, prepares to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
“There are a lot of obstacles in the way of it happening, but certainly, we feel like we’re active in the space,” he explained.
If the team does go for a new young driver in the future, it will be one from Toyota’s development wing. Meanwhile, an ‘established veteran’ could make things interesting, and even Wallace will have a lot to learn from an experienced teammate.

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Aayush Majumdar

932 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.

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