Bubba Wallace previously announced that he would be leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the 2020 Cup Series season. He did not reveal his destination at the time, but now he has broken the news. Wallace will be the driver for a new team created by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.
Wallace announced the news with a post on Instagram. He confirmed the long-rumored partnership with Hamlin and revealed officially that Jordan is joining the project. Wallace said that he is "grateful and humbled" that the two all-stars believe in him and expressed his excitement about the future. "Here's to new beginnings," Wallace wrote in the caption of his Instagram post.
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"11 years ago I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends," Hamlin said in a statement of his own. "Not long after, I joined Jordan Brand as their first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years and now we are ready to take it to the next level."
Hamlin said that he and Jordan are starting a single-car race team ahead of the 2021 season. Their first and only choice for the driver was Wallace. He said that the RPM driver in Wallace has shown considerable growth over the years and that he "deserves the opportunity" to compete for race wins. Hamlin said that he will soon provide more information about the partnership, but he currently remains focused on the playoffs and winning a championship for Joe Gibbs Racing.
According to NASCAR, Jordan will be the majority owner of the team while Hamlin continues competing in the Cup Series. The driver of the No. 11 JGR Toyota Camry is the minority owner. Additionally, Bob Germain will remain with the team after announcing the sale of Germain Racing. The charter previously fielded the No. 13 car full-time in the Cup Series for nine years. Ty Dillon, the current driver of the car, is in his fourth season with the team.
NASCAR did not announce the number of the car for Wallace's first season with a new team. However, FOX Sports' Bob Pockrass reports that the likely option is 23 to coincide with Jordan's NBA jerseys. Additionally, the new team will reportedly use a Toyota Camry and engines from Joe Gibbs Racing, as opposed to the Chevrolet Camaro that Wallace has driven throughout his Cup Series career.
Wallace has started 105 races in his Cup Series career. He has been with Richard Petty Motorsports for the entire time and has a career-best second-place finish at the 2018 Daytona 500. Wallace is currently in the best season of his career and has five 10-10 finishes. This includes a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500.