Basketball legend Michael Jordan announced Monday night he’s entering the world of NASCAR, as one of the first Black principal owners of a full-time Cup Series team.
Jordan is partnering with Cup Series star Denny Hamlin, along with current Petty Motorsports driver Bubba Wallace, to begin racing in 2021.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) September 22, 2020
The Jordan-Hamlin ownership group will announce more details about the “organization’s name, manufacturer affiliation, car number, sponsors and other details” at a later date, reported NASCAR. The new race team recently entered into an agreement to acquire the team charter from Germain Racing.
In a statement, Jordan, who is also the part-owner for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, said:
“Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life,” Jordan said. “The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me. Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more.”
Wallace, who made national attention in July, following an incident he quickly backpedaled of a noose found in his racing bay at Talladega Superspeedway, was, in fact, a garage door pull handle.
Wallace tweeted late Monday night that he leaving Petty Motorsports to race for Jordan.
“This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career. I’m grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”
After the Jordan-Hamlin-Wallace team was announced, NASCAR tweeted a statement to “proudly welcome Michael Jordan into the NASCAR family”.
In June, Jordan pledged to donate $100 million over the decade to “organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice, and greater access to education.”
Jordan’s move into NASCAR was perfectly described in his statement:
“In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”