On Monday, September 21st 2020, it was announced by the Charlotte Hornets and Michael Jordan’s Spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy, that Jordan and 3 time Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin will be teaming up to form a new NASCAR Cup Series Team. Bubba Wallace will be the driver.
Hamlin, who is currently ranked 2nd in the Cup Series Championship Standings with 7 races remaining and Jordan, have purchased a team charter from Germain Racing to field cars for Bubba Wallace. Wallace will in turn be leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the 2020 season and has already signed a multi-year deal to drive the yet-to-be-named single-car team.
This new partnership venture therefore makes Michael Jordan the first black principal owner of a full-time NASCAR Cup Team since 1973. The last black man known to have owned a full-time race team in NASCAR’s premier series was Wendell Scott. Scott owned and raced his own car from the 60s into the early 70s.
Beginnings, Michael Jordan’s Ownership and Significance
In 2006, Michael Jordan became an investor in the then still new Charlotte Bobcats. It was around this time that he became friends with Denny Hamlin, a friendship that carries on to date. Jordan has been known to harbor an interest in auto racing and once owned the Michael Jordan Motorsports.
However, what he is best known for is his time in professional basketball. He played 15 seasons in the NBA winning 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls. Often referred to as an NBA legend, Jordan is credited with helping to popularize the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. As a result, he became a global cultural icon. Interestingly, the jordo haircut in Kenya is a slang coinage of the legend’s surname, Jordan and is reminiscent of his signature bald look.
Currently, the former basketball player is the main owner of the Charlotte Hornets, a basketball team of the NBA. His recent entrance into NASCAR is a step towards diversity for the company known to have historically struggled with the same. In June of this year, Bubba Wallace called for a ban of confederate flags at races. The league did a couple of days later. In addition, Wallace also had a Black Lives Matter paint scheme on his race car in the same month.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is an American privately owned auto racing company founded by Bill France Sr. in 1948. The company is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. Currently, his son, Jim France has been CEO since August 2018. Every year, NASCAR sanctions 1,500+ races at 100+ tracks in 48 US States and in Canada, Mexico and Europe.
See more on Music and Sports