Denny Hamlin Explains How Michael Jordan’s Prior Experience in Team Ownership Helps 23XI Racing

Published 12/17/2020, 10:30 AM EST
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)


When Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin announced an alliance to form a new NASCAR Cup Series team, they raised many eyebrows. More than the prospect of Hamlin’s foray into a driver/co-owner role, it was the entry of the NBA great Jordan into racing that got many people thinking.

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However, this was not the first time Jordan was getting into team ownership for a motorsports team. Michael Jordan Motorsports (MJM) competed on the AMA motorcycle circuit until 2013, and also found decent success.

At the same time, success did not come easily. The team entered as a privateer team and did not have the equipment or budget as some of the other teams.

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LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 18: NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is on stage during the unveiling of the 2019 NBA All-Star game logo and city, being hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina next year, during the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The experience did help Jordan greatly to get a better idea of team ownership in motorsports. Hamlin recently revealed that the experience of MJM came up when they spoke about the formation of 23XI Racing.

Hamlin said that Jordan was part of an alliance in the first few years of MJM as well.

How Michael Jordan’s time at MJM helps 23XI Racing

He had somewhat of an alliance as well in the first few years of (MJM). And he found out really quick that if you’re not the lead dog, it’s very, very hard to make sure you’ve got the best equipment available,” Hamlin said of the initial conversations with his friend Jordan.

The next part to figure out was how they could get the ‘best equipment’ they were looking for. That’s when Hamlin decided to draw upon his long-standing association with top NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 17: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, poses with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin is using all his experience as well

“Me. I can assure you that I’ll make sure 23XI has everything that Joe Gibbs Racing has’,” Hamlin said to Jordan. “And it’s up to us as well to almost create that Furniture Row-type of alliance where they won a lot of races and they won a championship as well,” he added.

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The 40-year-old Cup Series star says it is now up to the team to take that equipment and make it even better. To do that, every team needs the right people to guide it through the process. And Hamlin is confident that they have that.

Team members at the 23XI Racing shop are already working to get the process started. It seems Hamlin is currently doing more of the set-up work.

However, the experience and knowledge of Jordan would be helpful at every step along the way.

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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.

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