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Denny Hamlin Refuses to Snub Michael Jordan’s “Celebrity” Status as He Drops a Shocking Bruno Mars Revelation

Published 03/07/2024, 10:22 PM EST

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Denny Hamlin, the star driver of Joe Gibbs, with three Daytona 500 victories and 51 Cup series wins under his belt, is known not just for his on-track performance but off it as well. However, arguably, his most notable achievement isn’t his on-track prowess but his off-track partnership with NBA icon Michael Jordan to launch a new NASCAR team.

The idea to team up with Jordan and dive into NASCAR team ownership was all Hamlin’s brainchild. The move wasn’t just about partnering with Michael Jordan; it was about joining forces with a close friend. And he doesn’t put anything or anyone beyond it. Denny Hamlin, valuing his friendship with Jordan, recently put everyone else, including Bruno Mars, on the back burner to shine a spotlight on his partner’s fame and star power.

Denny Hamlin always puts Michael Jordan on a pedestal, no matter the situation

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It’s clear the respect is mutual between them, especially considering they teamed up to start a new NASCAR team. But Hamlin’s loyalty to Michael Jordan, his partner and buddy, really shines through in everything he does. Take a recent episode of Hamlin’s podcast, Actions Detrimental, for example. Co-host Jared Allen threw a question at the NASCAR ace: On a celebrity scale everyone knows Michael Jordan, right? So, like, say, let’s say he’s a hundred. Okay. What is Bruno Mars? Denny Hamlin, not fully in tune with Bruno Mars’s fame, guessed a 35, leaving Allen pretty stunned.

Jared Allen tried to set the record straight, reminding Denny Hamlin, He played the Super Bowl. He has like 80 million Spotify listeners monthly,” to which Michael Jordan’s partner adjusted his score to 60, saying, All right, fine. I’ll give him a 60.” Despite the adjustment, it was clear he couldn’t see anyone, including Bruno Mars, coming close to the legendary status of his friend, Michael Jordan.

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It seems like Denny Hamlin might not have caught that unforgettable 2016 Super Bowl halftime show where Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars absolutely killed it. Bruno Mars and Beyoncé, bringing their hits “Uptown Funk!” and “Formation” to the stage, led to a dance-off for the ages, catapulting Mars’s fame in the States to new heights.

Then there’s Michael Jordan, arguably the most iconic NBA player ever, who not only left an indelible mark on basketball but also owns teams in both the NBA and NASCAR. Saying the NBA owes a lot of its popularity to him isn’t a stretch.

Still, Denny Hamlin rating Bruno Mars a 60, compared to Jordan, might raise a few eyebrows. But given that Hamlin’s laser-focused on notching his first season win in Phoenix, NASCAR enthusiasts and fans are likely to let this slide. After all, when you’re gearing up for race day, keeping up with pop culture rankings can take a back seat.

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What are the odds of Denny Hamlin winning in Phoenix, and who are the favorites?

The Shriners Children’s 500 is revving up for this Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, with the action kicking off at 3:30 p.m. ET. The track’s been the battleground for the NASCAR championship race for the last four years, and the spring race hasn’t disappointed either, delivering edge-of-your-seat overtime finishes in both 2020 and 2023.

Fresh off a win last week, Kyle Larson’s leading the pack as the racer to beat. Hot on his heels are the reigning NASCAR champs, Ryan Blaney and William Byron, with Denny Hamlin next in the mix.

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Read More: Denny Hamlin Believes His & Michael Jordan’s $16M Investment Would Conquer 23XI’s Fatal Flaw

Denny Hamlin, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, wasn’t exactly thrilled with finishing eighth last Sunday in Las Vegas. He felt his ride had the chops to break into the top three but ended up settling for a spot in the top ten after a bumpy start to the season. But with two Phoenix wins under his belt already, he’s eyeing a playoff berth this weekend. Hamlin’s definitely seen as a contender, aiming to snag his elusive first Cup Series title.

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As a journalist, she religiously believes in the power of research, which allows her readers to dive deep into her stories and experience the detailed nuances of the sport like never before. Being proficient with Core Sport and Live Event Coverage, she has written multiple copies on the top entities of Stock Car Racing, like Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Tony Stewart.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta