UPDATES: Denny Hamlin did not confirm nor deny a rumor that he was interested in spearheading a consortium to purchase a stake in Richard Petty Motorsports.
The three-time Daytona 500 winner conceded he was working on several open-ended projects but had nothing to imminently announce.
"I think that I’m always looking towards what I’m going to do after my driving career is over. I’ve got some great partners that support me and my decisions in what I will do for years to come. So, I don’t know. I wish I had something to announce, but I really don’t.
"There’s a lot of things up in the air that are still getting worked on, but I just got – I’ve got to win this weekend and next weekend, and that’s where I’ve got to focus, but certainly I believe that, no matter what, my career will be with Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx as long as I want to drive."
— Autoweek —
A spokesperson for NBA legend Michael Jordan shut down a viral rumor on Thursday that the billionaire is interested in acquiring a stake in Richard Petty Motorsports, the race team that currently employs NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace.
"There is no truth to that rumor at all," Jordan’s longtime spokesperson, Estee Portnoy, told FOX Business. "Michael Jordan is not considering an investment in NASCAR’s Richard Petty Motorsports."
— Fox Business —
ORIGINAL POST 8-26-2020: Numerous rumors continue to swirl around the status of Richard Petty Motorsports and driver Bubba Wallace.
Bubba Wallace has confirmed that he has offers next year to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports, as well as Chip Ganassi Racing.
RPM co-owner Andrew Murstein says the team has offered Wallace a greater stake in ownership of the team as a part of their contract offer.
Following the announcement that Leavine Family Racing would shut down at the end of the year, there was more discussion of Toyota making an effort to get Richard Petty Motorsports to switch manufacturers for 2021 to make up for the loss of Leavine.
Then came rumors of a current Cup driver and celebrity becoming part-owners of Richard Petty Motorsports. Earlier this week on the Door, Bumper, Clear podcast, NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan was identified as the possible celebrity.
Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer says there indeed have been rumors of Denny Hamlin purchasing a portion of Richard Petty Motorsports:
Yes, there?s been a rumor Denny has made advances to purchase a team. https://t.co/SZV43esOJn
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) August 26, 2020
However, Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass says Michael Jordan’s spokesman says there’s no truth to the rumor that he’s involved:
fwiw Michael Jordan spokesman told me Aug. 13 and yesterday that there is no truth at all to the rumor that Jordan is buying into RPM. #nascar
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) August 26, 2020
There are a couple issues with these rumors:
- Denny Hamlin currently drives for the four car team of Joe Gibbs Racing. Under current NASCAR rules, Hamlin cannot drive for a four car team and own a fifth team. That would violate the ownership limits.
- Richard Petty Motorsports currently operates out of the Richard Childress Racing campus. If they were to change manufacturers, they would need to find a new shop and move during the off season.
- Changing manufacturers for a single year could be cost prohibitive without substantial investment. With the debut of the NextGen car in 2022, it may not make sense for RPM to switch over a fleet of cars for a single season. However, it’s possible they could be provided cars from Joe Gibbs Racing, much like Leavine Family Racing was.