Graphic by CNN

Jordan, Hamlin purchase race team, hire Wallace to drive

(NASCAR.com) Basketball legend Michael Jordan has agreed to purchase a NASCAR Cup Series Charter and Bubba Wallace will be the driver for “His Airness” and partner Denny Hamlin when the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season begins.

Jordan, widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time and current owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, will be the majority owner of a NASCAR Cup Series team. Wallace, the series’ lone Black driver in the midst of a career-best season, has found a home after announcing earlier this month that he would not return to Richard Petty Motorsports.

Also announced Monday was news that Hamlin would also be a minority owner of the single-car team. Hamlin has long been connected to Jordan through the latter’s Jordan Brand, and the two are close friends.

“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 in a news release. “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.

“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.”

The Jordan-Hamlin ownership group indicated that the organization’s name, manufacturer affiliation, car number, sponsors and other details would be announced later. The group indicated that it struck an agreement to acquire the team charter from Germain Racing.

Hamlin will remain a driver of the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, where his Cup Series career began in 2005. He has six wins this year and is one of the favorites to win the 2020 championship.

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About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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