Race Weekend Central

Rev’s Picks: Look for MJ, Hamlin and Bubba to make a splash

Rumors began months ago that detailed the possibility of Denny Hamlin partnering with Michael Jordan to form a new team. Then, Bubba Wallace announced his departure from Richard Petty Motorsports – his home for the last two years – which stirred the Silly Season even more so. I sure did not see Wallace hooking up with Hamlin and Michael Jordan himself.

Well … It happened. Another driver is set to debut a driver-owned team and another celebrity is set to make his presence known in the sports as far as ownership goes. I think it is GREAT news. Here’s the scoop if you don’t already know.

In the late evening hours of Monday, Sept. 21, Denny Hamlin announced via Twitter the debut of a new single-car team with the NASCAR Cup Series in a partnership with six-time NBA champion and and five-time NBA MVP Michael Jordan. Who did they pick to drive? You guessed it: Wallace, who has undoubtedly introduced NASCAR to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands new fans who have never even thought of giving NASCAR even five minutes worth on their television set.

With this, however, Hamlin made known in his statement that he would remain focused on winning a championship in the No. 11 FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry this season “and in the years ahead,” which undoubtedly insinuates he has no plans to abandon the same team he’s won three Daytona 500s with.

I think it’s safe to say most driver-owners have been successful in the top series. Look at Stewart-Haas Racing, who, with Kevin Harvick, just secured their eleventh season win for the team. You may also check out the now-defunct Dale Earnhardt, Inc., who won 22 cup wins. Celebrity owners are not shy to the sports either. Michael Jordan joins the ranks of former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss, who acquired Morgan-Dollar Motorsports and won a couple of races with the team in 2009.

What’s the point? My point is this: I have every reason to believe this team could work and be successful as they navigate through their first year in 2021 as a single-car team after buying the Germain Racing charter. With a influx of sponsors likely following Wallace (i.e. Columbia, DoorDash), along with the massive following that MJ and Hamlin themselves have currently, there could be no shortage of funds flowing in.

Wallace has shown strength in the 2020 season, including five top 10 finishes and a fifth-place finish at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 in August in the Chevy camp, who have struggled in the last two years to make a splash. It’s surely a fact that things have changed this season though, considering Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing have raised eyebrows. I believe there will be a statement made regarding Wallace’s ability to be a competitive bidder in the race in 2021, especially if this deal is supported by Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota and any brands that are interested in what kind of racing program Hamlin and Jordan hope to build together.

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