[Joe] Gibbs’ driver Denny Hamlin is becoming a team owner with NBA legend Michael Jordan. The new team will begin the 2021 season as a single-car effort with Bubba Wallace as the driver. Gibbs confirmed the new organization will be working with them going forward.
“It’s a huge deal for us,” Gibbs said of having Hamlin form a new team with Jordan. “We’re still working through all of those things, but it looks like there’s going to be a relationship there. Denny has always been with Toyota [since JGR joined Toyota in 2008]. We’re working hard on all that, and there’s still some things to be worked out. It looks like we’ll definitely be in a relationship with them.”
An alliance with a major NASCAR team can include equipment, chassis, pit crews, engines, race weekend notes and more. It costs several million dollars to form an alliance with a team like Joe Gibbs Racing, and the cost is often too hefty for ones without major corporate backing, like Furniture Row Racing and Leavine Family Racing.
“It’s a big deal for our sport,” Gibbs said. “Michael is a high-profile person that everybody loves. They’ll be able to see him and be around him. He’s going to help us from a diversity and high-profile standpoint.”
While the Jordan-Hamlin team has not announced in detail its plans for next year and beyond, an alliance with Gibbs will give them a respectable shot at competing near the front of the pack. Three of Gibbs’ four Cup cars this year qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs, and Hamlin himself has scored seven victories thus far.
NASCAR does have a rule in place that, should a driver compete for a four-car team like Hamlin does for Joe Gibbs Racing, he cannot have a stake in another organization. There is a loophole stating that if the team the driver owns doesn’t act like a fifth car for the organization he drives for, he can own it. He is also listed as the minority owner for the team, which means his involvement will be limited to an extent until he retires from on-track competition.
See much more at Forbes.