Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s NASCAR Team, New Rivals for Joe Gibbs After Game-Changing $16 Million Investment

Published 02/12/2024, 1:11 PM EST

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Denny Hamlin is building a racing empire to behold with 6-time NBA champion Michael Jordan by his side. 23XI Racing, is an exciting place to be in 2024 with an alleged $16 million power boost, complete with a brand-new headquarters on a 15-acre site acquired by the Joe Gibbs driver himself, in Huntersville, North Carolina. This isn’t just any expansion, it’s a declaration of intent, a challenge to the established order of NASCAR. A type of bravado that hasn’t been visible in ‘more than a decade.’

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Nevertheless, Denny Hamlin’s 2024 season is shaping up to be a fascinating tightrope walk. While the newly minted racing mogul preps 23XI Racing for glory with exciting new changes and advancements, his heart still races in the familiar white and purple of Joe Gibbs Racing. This creates a unique conundrum for the 43-year-old. How does one chase a personal championship dream while simultaneously building a rival empire?

23XI ‘Poised’ for Takeoff with Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, and a $16 Million Power Boost

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Hamlin’s loyalty to JGR is undeniable. After all, this is the team that nurtured him into the star that he is today. Helping him rack up impressive wins, such as three Daytona 500 victories and nearly snatching the elusive championship several times. But the lure of 23XI is powerful. It represents his own legacy, a team built from the ground up alongside a living legend like ‘Big Mike’, with his vision at the helm.

Speaking on the latest episode of his Actions Detrimental podcast, Hamlin spoke about his expectations for 23XI Racing this season, especially with the exciting new changes in place. The #11 JGR driver said:

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“I mean, our expectation is to continue to get better and that’s a very vague statement… Just two cars in the playoffs, that is not, that is way too modest. So my goal would be to have both cars at least both cars in the final eight. So that is my goal that continues to move us to that trajectory of having a car in the final 4 within five years.”

Continuing to talk about this ‘5-year plan’ for 23XI to be a ‘Championship team’ and the progression in year four from the lens of a co-owner, Hamlin announced,

Watch This Story: 23XI Racing’s Struggle For Satisfaction

“Last year, I think they barely exceeded the expectations that I set for ‘em. Obviously, I’m publicly kind of setting expectations here now. But you know, It’s not just as easy as numbers on a page either… It’s hard to pin your success or failures based off of what happened in the stats column.”

Denny Hamlin’s ambitious vision for 23XI Racing hinges not just on infrastructure and investments, but on the performance of its drivers as well: #45 Tyler Reddick and #23 Bubba Wallace. Both drivers put up impressive performances in 2023, showcasing their potential and stoking excitement ahead of the approaching season.

Can Reddick and Wallace Steer Them to Victory Lane?

Reddick, 26, had a particularly strong debut year with 23XI, achieving the coveted Round of 8 spot and securing two thrilling victories, finishing sixth in the standings. His overtime win at Kansas Speedway in the playoffs was a highlight, demonstrating his ability to perform under pressure. However, consistency was an area for improvement, with Reddick falling short in some races after very strong starts.

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For Wallace, 2023 saw him maintain his top-five and top-10 finishes compared to the previous year, but he wasn’t able to secure a victory, the first time since 2020. However, consistency on superspeedways, where he failed to secure a single top-10 finish in 2023, will be key to unlocking his full potential at 23XI.

This tightrope walk does fuel a powerful ambition. Hamlin envisions both drivers reaching the final eight and, eventually, the Championship 4 within five years. His confidence is evident from this statement:

“I’d say that whatever the expectations are of a Joe GIbbs’ racing car, I don’t understand why we would move our goals any lower than that.”

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Nevertheless, 2024 promises to be an interesting season for us fans but more so for Denny Hamlin as all eyes lay peeled on his balancing of roles at Joe Gibbs Racing, and 23XI.

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Written by:

Amman Augustin

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Amman Augustin is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. With his coverage majorly focusing on the lavish off-track lives of drivers, Amman often brings the lesser-known side of Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick to their fans. Another aspect of NASCAR where he flourishes is covering rivalries between competitors.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad

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