HomeCar CultureMichael Jordan raises the bar at NASCAR

Michael Jordan raises the bar at NASCAR

NBA star-turned Charlotte Hornets team owner, Michael Jordan, has embarked on a new professional sports venture – as a NASCAR team owner.


For the first time, since Wendell Scott drove and fielded his independent team from 1961-1973, Michael Jordan will become a majority owner of color in NASCAR. The team is co-owned by long-time friend, three-time Daytona 500 winner and Joe Gibbs Racing star Denny Hamlin. The car will be driven by Bubba Wallace for the 2021 season.

“Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity, and there have been few Black owners,” Jordan said in his statement. “The timing seemed perfect, as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more.”

Michael Jordan grew up in NASCAR country and was said to have attended many races with his parents as a child. From there, he has been a lifelong fan of the racing series. Hamlin, known as the Hornets’ version of Jack Nicholson, can be found sitting courtside at most of the Charlotte NBA franchise games.

“Eleven years ago, I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game, and we became fast friends,” Hamlin wrote. “Not long after, I joined Jordan Brand as their first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years, and now we are ready to take it to the next level.”

Brad Daugherty, who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA, also has had a long friendship with Jordan, going back to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Daugherty has an ownership interest in JTG Daugherty Racing in the Cup series and previously had ownership in a Truck Series team, he is said to have been very persuasive in Jordan’s decision for this NASCAR venture.

Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only major Black driver, has made 105 Cup starts in four seasons without a win. In the Truck Series, Wallace posted six victories.

“Bubba has shown tremendous improvement since joining the Cup Series, and we believe he’s ready to take his career to a higher level,” Hamlin wrote. “He deserves the opportunity to compete for race wins, and our team will make sure he has the resources to do just that.”

Jordan received a warm welcome from the top-tier racing series, with hopes that he will raise the bar for competition and NASCAR’s momentum.As an advisor to DraftKings, one will wonder too if this might raise the sports betting profile of the racing series.

“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 wrote. “The opportunity to own my own race team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us is very exciting for me.”

Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the ClassicCars.com Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.


  1. I think a guy or gal should be able to compete and or win without having the label of the first Black to do so. Why is no one concerned about a Mexican participating? Many years ago, I wanted to get a NASCAR license to attempt to drive there some day. But I accepted the fact it was kind of a fraternity/family sport. It’s no one’s RIGHT to be given a chance. And if you are not accepted it’s no reason to throw a fit. There are midget races and other minor stuff anyone can compete to draw attention to skills. Life is not about expecting to be handed opportunities. Jordan did what should have been done to give a black driver a chance; he became owner of a team. That’s how it’s done in this world. Kudos for Michael Jordan. Now he can offer an opportunity for some young black kid who dreams of driving fast. Every child has dreams, and I personally wish I had the power to give all of them a chance and know I did so because I love them the way God does. I want a kid to know he got his chance because someone cared about him as a person not some charity shot because he was black. and is it fair to ignore the Mexican child just because his voice is not as loud? NASCAR viewership goes up the more chances everyone has the opportunity.

  2. All lives matter, there is no color. If you take the opportunities that are given to you or you earn them , your color doesn’t matter. People have choices it’s what you do about it. I’ve always
    Loved Michael play one of the best. He’ll love racing it’s a blast.


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