Michael Jordan will be bringing his legendary competitive streak to NASCAR.
Jordan will co-own a NASCAR team with Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin in 2021 with Bubba Wallace as the team’s driver. And the NBA legend told NBC and Fox in an interview on Wednesday that he had no desire for his team to run in the middle of the pack.
“My biggest conversation to Denny was, ‘Look, I don’t want to get in there to just go around the races and just go around and around and around and finish up 18th, 19th, 20th, 30th,’ ” Jordan said. “I want to win. I want to be put in a position for the best chance for us to win. That’s my competitive nature. That’s always been who I am.”
“When we got into this dialogue and I saw that OK, I might have a chance if we can put together the right situation to possibly win. That became more intriguing. That was my mindset going into this.”
Wallace, 26, has never been in top-tier equipment in his three years at Richard Petty Motorsports. He’s currently in 23rd in the points standings with seven races to go in 2020. That’s five positions higher than he finished in each of the past two seasons.
He should have much better stuff at his yet-to-be named team in 2021. The Jordan-Hamlin team will undoubtedly be aligned with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing, the team Hamlin currently drives for. JGR has been the best Cup Series team in recent years. Drivers racing JGR equipment have won three of the past five Cup Series titles.
That stat includes Martin Truex Jr., who won the 2017 title while driving for Furniture Row Racing. FRR was a single-car team that had a JGR alliance, though it went out of business a year later. Outside of the closure aspect, FRR would be the ideal example of what Jordan and Hamlin’s team could achieve with Wallace in the coming years.
Jordan also told NBC and Fox that the deal had come together in the last two weeks. Hamlin said the catalyst for the deal was when he texted Jordan about a rumor at the end of August that the two were looking to be a co-owners of a NASCAR team.
“Looks like we’re owners together, ha, ha,” Hamlin said he told Jordan. “Congratulations. He said, ‘Fake news, but if you want to make it real news, let me know.’ ”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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