Bubba Wallace announced at the start of the month that he was leaving Richard Petty Motorsports following the 2020 season. Tonight, he announced who he will be racing for moving forward — and it involves NBA icon Michael Jordan and fellow driver Denny Hamlin.
“Proud to announce that Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin are teaming up to start a Cup team in 2021, and I’m wheeling it,” Wallace wrote on his Instagram account. “This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career. Michael and Denny are both great competitors and are focused on building the best team they possibly can to go out and compete for race wins.
He continued his statement by saying, “I’m grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”
The news was confirmed by NASCAR and Hamlin on social media.
With Wallace revealing the news, NASCAR released a statement welcoming the six-time NBA champion to the sport.
“We proudly welcome Michael Jordan to the NASCAR family, and look forward to watching Michael, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace compete in 2021,” NASCAR’s statement read. “Michael is an iconic sports figure and celebrated champion whose fiercely competitive nature has placed him among the greatest athletes of all time. His presence at NASCAR’s top level will further strengthen the competition, excitement and momentum growing around our sport. We wish Michael and his team tremendous success.”
Wallace has been the focus of several headlines throughout the summer and into the fall. In August, for instance, Columbia announced that it has signed the NASCAR Cup Series driver to a multiyear sponsorship. “Columbia Sportswear is a perfect fit for my lifestyle away from the track,” Wallace said via statement at the time of the announcement. “I love spending time outdoors — boating, golfing, hiking, photography — just anything to help me decompress from a hectic racing schedule.”
The signing occurred two months after a door pull rope in the form of a noose was found in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Immediately after it was discovered, the FBI launched an investigation and stated the driver was not the target of a hate crime. “The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment,” the NASCAR statement read.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 22, 2020
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) September 22, 2020