Michael Jordan became the first black owner of a NASCAR team earlier last year. Bubba Wallace talks about the NBA legend’s impact since then.
Michael Jordan announced that he had created a NASCAR team with veteran Denny Hamlin. The duo named 23XI Racing, and Bubba Wallace serving as the first driver in the No. 23 car.
Wallace competed at the Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief GP in the NASCAR Cup Series yesterday. He ended up with a 16th-placed finish in a field of 37. He spoke to the Charlotte Business Journal about his relationship with Mike:
“I don’t know, we’ve got to start talking about motorcycles because he obviously owned a motorcycle team back in the day and I’ve got two Harleys myself.”
Signed last year as the first driver for 23XI Racing, the NASCAR team owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace is representing a globally recognized brand. He talked with CBJ recently about the team and his future, among other topics. https://t.co/YNW0IKZfkU
— Charlotte Business Journal (@CBJnewsroom) April 12, 2021
“It was cool to share some stories about riding motorcycles with him at Daytona. But it’s nothing crazy right now. He’s been watching from afar.”
“But he has tuned in every day, which is really cool. After every race, he is always firing a text. He is definitely locked in and committed so that’s all you need.”
How did Michael Jordan enter the world of racing?
Jordan has been established as an avid bike rider from a long time. His affinity for the machine is such that the Bulls wrote a ‘no bike riding’ clause into his rookie scale contract.
This meant that it took his retirement from the league before he started a motorcycle team called Michael Jordan Motorsports in 2004. He took the help of Pete Mauhar, a seasoned team manager in the pro circuit with a decade worth of Superbike experience.
“I got a call from James Casmay, someone I didn’t know. He was asking about whether we’d want to help Michael Jordan go into racing. It was a pretty bizarre call, really. Honestly, I thought it was some of my friends messing around with me.”
But it was real, and Mauhar had the enterprise up and running in a whopping five weeks’ time. The outfit folded in 2014 after running in competition for nearly a decade and securing just one win.