Bubba Wallace to drive No. 23 car for Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin

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Bubba Wallace participates in the national anthem before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

There was little doubt that Bubba Wallace was going to drive the No. 23 car for Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin. Now it’s official.

The new 23XI Racing team announced that Wallace would drive the No. 23 next season. The number hasn’t been used in the Cup Series since BK Racing folded and makes perfect sense.

“Michael and I have a shared vision for this team,” Hamlin said in a statement, “so it’s exciting to see it reflected in the team name and on the race car with the iconic number 23 that Michael made famous.”

The team’s 23XI name is also an homage to Hamlin. He’s driven the No. 11 car for Joe Gibbs Racing his entire Cup Series career.

Jordan is the first black person to be the majority owner of a NASCAR Cup Series team. He joined forces with Hamlin to field a team for Bubba earlier this fall as Wallace’s star had grown over the course of the 2020 season. The team will field Toyotas via an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and bought a charter to ensure that Wallace will have a guaranteed spot in every Cup Series race in 2021.

The move is massive for Wallace’s career. He should be in top-level equipment for the first time in the Cup Series. Wallace has nine top-10 finishes in 109 career starts for Richard Petty Motorsports. RPM announced earlier this week that Erik Jones would be replacing Wallace in its No. 43 car in 2021.




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