Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin form new NASCAR team, hire Bubba Wallace as driver

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Steve Gardner   | USA TODAY
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NBA legend Michael Jordan is trying his hand at another sport, starting up a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver.

Jordan announced Monday that he's joining with three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin to form a team that will compete in the NASCAR Cup Series starting next season. 

"Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I've been a NASCAR fan my whole life," Jordan said. "The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me." 

Jordan, who also played minor league baseball during his career, will serve as the principal owner of the still-to-be-named, single-car team, while Hamlin will maintain a minority stake as he continues to drive the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. 

"It just makes sense now to lay the foundation for my racing career after I’m done driving and also help an up-and-coming driver like Bubba take his career to a higher level," Hamlin said.

Jordan becomes the first Black majority owner of a full-time race team in NASCAR's top series since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in the 1970s. Wallace is the first Black driver since Scott to race full-time in the Cup Series. He recently announced that he would leave Richard Petty Motorsports at season's end.

"This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career," Wallace said. "Both Michael and Denny are great competitors and are focused on building the best team they possibly can to go out and compete for race wins. I’m grateful and humbled that Michael and Denny believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them."

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