22 Sep 2020
Basketball legend Michael Jordan has described the signing of Bubba Wallace to his new NASCAR Cup series team as “perfect”.
Speaking to the Charlotte Observer, the NBA All-Star, who is entering NASCAR in partnership with three-time Daytona 500 winner, said that the deal to sign Wallace came about quickly.
“When (Hamlin) told me there was a possibility of getting Bubba Wallace, I’m saying, ‘okay, this is perfect!’” Jordan told the publication. “If I’m getting involved in NASCAR, then get a Black driver (with) a Black owner.”
Despite the team being a brand new, startup operation, Jordan isn’t looking to make up the numbers, and is eyeing success right from the off.
“If I’m investing, if I’m a participant, then I want to win! I don’t want to be out there to be just another car,” said Jordan. “I feel like Bubba feels the same, and Denny has definitely done that this year.
“We’ve got the right people involved. Now, we need to get the right equipment. The right information and data. Give Bubba his best chance to win.”
While many details of the new team are still under wraps, Jordan told The Observer that the squad was working closely with Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing team, which puts them in an ideal position to be competitive early on.
“We’re in conversations with Gibbs to get the data and create a relationship with them,” Jordan confirmed to the North Carolina outlet.
“When I was in motorcycle racing, if you didn’t have the right parts, the support from the manufacturers, you had no chance of winning,” he added, referring to his spell as a team owner in American motorcycle racing in the 2000s.
Joe Gibbs Racing has provided technical support to small teams in recent years, arrangements that have brought those minnows success.
The Toyota powerhouse aligned with Furniture Row Racing in 2016. The team, which had only won two races up to that point, took four wins in 2016, eight in ‘17 – along with the Cup series title for Martin Truex Jr. – and four more victories in 2018 before the Denver-based team closed down.
Since 2019 Gibbs has been aligned with Leavine Family Racing, a partnership that has helped the team to a combined 12 top-10 finishes (including four top-fives) across 2019-20 with Matt DiBenedetto and Christopher Bell. Prior to that the team had managed just four top-10s in eight years.