How a Harmless Joke Helped Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan Start Their Own Team

Published 09/24/2020, 1:35 PM EDT


Earlier this week, Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace and Michael Jordan sent the NASCAR community in a frenzy. Hamlin and Jordan announced that they were setting up a new NASCAR team with Wallace behind the wheel. However, it is worth noting that the announcement was ignited courtesy of a passing joke from Hamlin.

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The #11 driver confessed that he was joking about owning a Cup Series team with Michael Jordan. He cheekily said, “Looks like we’re owners together, ha, ha. Congratulations. He said, ‘Fake news, but if you want to make it real news, let me know’.”

Soon, one thing led to another, and a new NASCAR team sprouted on the 2021 grid with Bubba Wallace on the lineup. According to Jordan, the entire incident played out in 10 days and worked perfectly for Wallace. The current Richard Petty driver was actually on the hunt for a seat in 2021 after parting ways with the outfit.

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What else is there to know about the Denny Hamlin-Michael Jordan venture?

Only the bare details have broken cover, like the owner and driver names. However, elements like the car number, sponsors, manufacturer and team name have been kept under wraps.

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NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) makes a pit stop during the Drydene 311 at Dover International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

However, some suggest that the team could link up with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin confessed to being taken aback at Jordan’s reaction, especially since Michael Jordan told Dale Earnhardt Jr that he was not planning to become a team owner.

However, when Denny Hamlin cracked the joke, Jordan felt that it was the right time to go for it. For his part, Hamlin is confident that his experience will be useful in aiding in his team’s hopeful rise up the ranks.

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“I’m a fan of the sport first,” Jordan concluded. “I love sports, I love, love NASCAR. I don’t go into with the idea and concept that I’m trying to change and shape NASCAR, I go in with my passion and I hope that whoever knows Michael Jordan or whoever supports Michael Jordan. Whoever supports NASCAR see this as an opportunity to enjoy the sport.”

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Dhruv George

11322 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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