Michael Jordan’s new NASCAR team with Denny Hamlin now has a manufacturer and a technical alliance. Hamlin and driver Bubba Wallace appeared Friday on CBS This Morning to share the latest news.
The No. 23 will be a Toyota and 23XI Racing will have a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR, of course, is the team for which Hamlin has been a driver since 2005, compiling 44 NASCAR Cup Series wins along the way.
Hamlin later revealed in an afternoon media availability that Mike Wheeler will be the team’s crew chief. Wheeler was Hamlin’s crew chief from 2016 to 2018 and the pair won five races together. He was a crew chief at Leavine Family Racing and driver Matt DiBenedetto in 2019 before transition over to the competition director role with the team.
“Toyota has been a big part of my NASCAR career,” Hamlin said in a statement. “We’ve achieved multiple milestones together including back-to-back Daytona 500 victories. I know how they support their teams, and when I decided move to team ownership, I knew that I wanted Toyota to be alongside our team. Toyota supports my vision with this team and will be integrated with our team members to support us as we grow and strive to achieve race wins and championships.”
Jordan revealed on Sept. 21 that he had agreed to purchase a charter and partner with Hamlin for the 2021 season and that Wallace would be their driver.
“My main goal for 23XI Racing is to be competitive for a championship as soon as possible,” said Jordan. “Our partnership with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing gives us the equipment, resources and expertise to do it.”
Gibbs is excited to help the new team get off the ground.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to provide resources to this new Toyota team to help them get started,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing in a statement. “We can remember being in a similar position nearly three decades ago and we were fortunate to have a similar agreement that helped us in the beginning. We’re happy for Denny to realize his dream of ownership and certainly it’s a big deal for NASCAR to have someone with the respect and stature of Michael Jordan enter our sport.”