After flirting with the idea of ownership within NASCAR, Michael Jordan has fully embraced the opportunity through 23XI Racing for the 2021 season. Jordan’s involvement with the company has created much chatter around the sport. All that has quickly guided the discussion around 23XI Racing’s next move ahead.
Michael Jordan launches 23XI Racing for the 2021 season
Following years of watching the sport, Michael Jordan finally chose to take the ownership route in NASCAR.
Jordan teamed up with longtime driver Denny Hamlin to create 23XI Racing for the 2021 season. The company quickly honed in on Bubba Wallace being their first driver, effectively ending his tenure with Richard Petty Motorsports.
Although Wallace went winless through his first 105 Cup Series races, the company holds a tremendous belief in his ability. The 27-year-old has a bright future ahead of him as the first piece of the puzzle with his new venture.
As 23Xi Racing ventures through their first campaign, they already have their eyes on their next step.
Michael Jordan will soon make his next big NASCAR move
It’s only been a couple of weeks into the 2021 season, but 23XI Racing is already looking far beyond this year.
During a recent media session, part-owner Denny Hamlin recently voiced that the company is eyeing adding an “established veteran” driver. (H/T NASCAR.com)
“We’re trying our best to be the team that Toyota feels like they have a place for their young guys to go,” Hamlin said. “Or maybe, we go for an established veteran who’s got a great resume.”
The 2021 season marks only the beginning of Michael Jordan’s venture into the NASCAR ownership realm. Bubba Wallace is the start of a grander picture that Hamlin and Jordan envision for 23XI Racing.
There could be some notable names on the open market after the 2021 season that certainly fit the bill of an “established” driver. Brad Keselowski may be at the top of the list as he’s in the final year of his contract with Team Penske. Keselowski is in his 12th year with the team that includes a NASCAR Cup championship and 33 wins.
He did test the free-agent market last year but didn’t receive any lucrative offers. Keselowski is one of the sport’s most consistent drivers as he won multiple races eight times in the last 12 seasons, including each of the previous five campaigns.
There are other notable names such as Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, and Martin Truex Jr. that could all make solid additions that will all need contracts after this year. However, each of these drivers is closer to the end of their respective racing careers.
Bright future ahead in NASCAR
What this speaks to more than anything else is that Michael Jordan’s ownership with 23XI Racing has plenty of growth ahead.
Denny Hamlin’s involvement with the company will only help the business grow into a mainstay in NASCAR. The addition of a proven veteran driver will generate a more substantial reputation in the garage.
Jordan’s status as a legendary sports icon may play a part in helping land another established driver in the sport. The decision to create 23XI Racing was made to become a long-term staple brand in NASCAR.
The 2021 season will have some bumps along the way as the company figures out how to manage a driver, crew, and team for Bubba Wallace. Beyond that, much lies ahead that should generate plenty of excitement around the company’s future.