How Michael Jordan Becoming a Racing Team Owner Will Change NASCAR for the Better


Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace join forces for a racing crew looking to drive NASCAR into the future. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Late Monday night, news broke that one of the most iconic sports figures of our time, Michael Jordan, teamed up with one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR this past decade, Denny Hamlin, to create a new racing team that features driver Bubba Wallace as the face of the team. Although Jordan and Hamlin’s relationship goes back over a decade, this surprising deal came together in just 10 days. The announcement makes Jordan the first Black majority owner of a NASCAR Cup Series racing team in almost 50 years. 

Wallace was set to depart Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of this season, leaving him a free agent this offseason. With Jordan’s brand, financial backing, and status in the sports world, the move was a no-brainer for Wallace as he now becomes the face of Michael Jordan’s racing team. 

This will be a massive boost for the fourth year Cup Series driver, as he had struggled with finding sponsors and a strong mechanic team in the years before his social justice stance. Denny Hamlin is currently under contract with Joe Gibbs racing, but it remains unknown if he will join the team, due to NASCAR’s rules against racing for the team you own.

NASCAR came into this season aiming to make widespread changes due to the severe decrease in television ratings, from averaging 8 million viewers in 2015 all the way down to 4 million in 2019. Aside from the business changes to sponsorship and ownership, a clear public relations shift became apparent during this past regular season. 

Two big announcements, one to ban the Confederate flag at NASCAR events and another to support calls for change in light of racial justice protests, caught many in the sports world off guard. This announcement sent a statement that the organization was committed to wholesale cultural change and the business changes they were making. Adding a figure like Michael Jordan to the group of NASCAR racing ownership further proves that the league is continuing to back their changes with action.

Michael Jordan grew up a NASCAR fan, and as owner of the Hornets, he is perfectly located in Charlotte where NASCAR has its headquarters. In a season where the sport saw powerful moments, such as all the drivers walking side-by-side with Bubba Wallace after a noose was found in his garage, what better way to continue a culture change than adding a powerful, popular Black billionaire to make an impression on the sport? 

Adding Jordan as an owner will bring countless new fans and awareness to NASCAR from a purely business perspective.He is both a North Carolina resident, an African American and a sports icon. Michael Jordan is the perfect individual in the ideal moment to become a racing owner in NASCAR, especially if the league is committed to making the organizational changes they feel is necessary to better and improve their sport.