Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan starting new NASCAR Cup Series team with Bubba Wallace as driver

NASCAR

Bubba Wallace stands for the national anthem before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, June 14, 2020, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin announced Monday night that he and basketball legend Michael Jordan are starting a new Cup Series team with Darrell “Bubba” Wallace as their driver.

Wallace, NASCAR’s only fulltime Black driver, announced earlier this year that he would not be racing for Richard Petty Motorsports in 20201.

Hamlin said he met Jordan 11 years ago at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game where he said they became fast friends. He then 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,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin said deciding on a driver was easy, “it had to be Bubba Wallace.”

“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 said.

Wallace tweeted Monday night saying “This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career. I’m grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”

Hamlin said more details about the team will be released at a later date.

Wallace has been in the spotlight in 2020, successfully pushing the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues.. There has been criticism of the ban by some longtime fans and security had been stepped up for Wallace, a 26-year-old Alabama native.

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