Bubba Wallace Is ‘All Ears’ About Learning From Denny Hamlin

Bubba Wallace and 23XI Racing have a chance to take NASCAR by storm this season.

Wallace, who previously raced for Richard Petty Motorsports, is now working under NASCAR star Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan. Although Hamlin is still technically Wallace’s opponent on the racetrack, there appear to be no early signs of an in-company rivalry.

During a recent interview, Wallace discussed his new relationship with Hamlin and how the two are working together to make 23XI Racing a brand name.

Bubba Wallace is about to start at 23XI Racing

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After four seasons with Richard Petty Motorsports, Bubba Wallace is starting over.

Wallace is the face of 23XI Racing, a new company operated by Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan. NASCAR icon Denny Hamlin, who races for Joe Gibbs Racing, is a minority partner in 23XI.

Through a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, 23XI will run the No. 23 car, a Toyota. Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver at the Cup Series level, is the car’s driver.

Wallace won’t be the first driver to race for 23XI, though. Ty Dillon will hold that title when he races in the Busch Clash at Daytona on Tuesday, February 9.

Wallace will get his opportunity five days later in the Daytona 500.

Bubba Wallace is eager to work with Denny Hamlin

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Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin are still technically opponents and teammates at the same time.

Such is life in NASCAR, where drivers can have ownership stakes in other companies. NASCAR’s official website transcribed comments that Wallace made on a virtual call about working with Hamlin.

“Denny told me at the beginning of this deal that if something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to go to him no matter the circumstances. I’ll make sure to have that lifeline in my back pocket if things aren’t necessarily going to plan for whatever reason. But I don’t expect that to happen. I think we have the right people in the right place to make our program a success from the front office to our guys in the shop, then our road crew to our pit crew.”

Wallace said that he is eager about his new relationship with Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner.

“I’m all ears,” Wallace said. “Got the notebook ready to see what there is to offer.”

The Daytona 500 odds heavily favor Hamlin over Wallace

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Oddsmakers don’t seem too optimistic about Bubba Wallace beginning his tenure at 23XI Racing with a victory in the Daytona 500.

According to Odds Shark, Wallace and Matt DiBenedetto only have +2500 odds to win the Daytona 500. Compare that to Denny Hamlin, who leads the pack at +600.

Chase Elliott, the reigning Cup Series champion, and Ryan Blaney are tied for second at +900. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano each have +1100 odds.

Those are fair odds for Wallace, who has never won a Cup Series race in his four-year career. Wallace does have nine top-10 finishes to his name, though.

Betting odds courtesy of Odds Shark as of Feb. 4, 2021. How to get help: In the U.S., contact the National Council on Problem Gambling helpline at 1-800-522-4700.