It all makes sense now.
In the midst of the best season of his career, Bubba Wallace in early September announced he’d be parting ways with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2021.
And on Monday, his new racing home was revealed.
Wallace will drive for “His Airness” when next season begins, as NBA legend Michael Jordan has bought a NASCAR Cup Series Charter. And Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota, is a minority owner. Hamlin will remain a member of Joe Gibbs Racing, however.
“11 years ago I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends,” Hamlin said in a statement. “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.”
And choosing their first driver apparently was pretty easy.
“Deciding on a new driver was easy — it had to be Bubba Wallace,” Hamlin added.
“Bubba has shown tremendous improvement since joining the Cup Series and we believe he’s ready to take his career to a higher level. He deserves the opportunity to compete for race wins and our team will make sure he has the resources to do just that. Off the track, Bubba has been a loud voice for change in our sport and our country. MJ and I support him fully in those efforts and stand beside him.”
This year, Wallace had five top-10 finishes, including a fifth-place finish in the regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway.
Jordan, who grew up in North Carolina, has been a NASCAR fan since childhood.
Thumbnail photo via Mark Humphrey/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Images