Denny Hamlin Shares Surprising Origin of Michael Jordan Partnership [Exclusive Video]

Denny Hamlin

Getty Denny Hamlin provides a new look at 23XI Racing in Netflix clip.

Denny Hamlin has provided a unique look at the history of 23XI Racing. The team’s co-owner has revealed the surprising genesis of him and Michael Jordan taking on the NASCAR Cup Series together.

The first Netflix documentary about 23XI Racing and Bubba Wallace arrives on February 22, two days after the Daytona 500. Prior to its release, Netflix provided a clip to Heavy featuring Hamlin, who sat down and explained how a random article led to an important discussion between him and the six-time NBA champion.


RACE: Bubba Wallace | Official Clip – Starting 23XI Racing | NetflixBoth the personal and professional tracks of race car driver Bubba Wallace's life are chronicled in this new docuseries. With exclusive access to Wallace during the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, his first with Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s 23XI Racing, the six-episode series traces his rise to the elite ranks of NASCAR as the…2022-02-19T02:49:25Z

“A news article came out,” Hamlin said in the clip. “Kind of a … one that wasn’t really real. And it says, ‘A current NASCAR driver, Denny Hamlin, and Michael Jordan looking to purchase a stake.’ And I think it was just a speculative article.”

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Hamlin continued and explained that he made the decision while golfing to send the article to Jordan. The six-time NBA Finals MVP responded with a laugh and called the article “fake news” according to Hamlin’s recollection, but he added that Hamlin should let him know if he wanted to make it real.

Between 24-48 hours later, Hamlin was on a plane to meet with Jordan in person.


The Process Consisted of More Discussions

While the speculative article and a message from Hamlin kickstarted the process of starting a team, it was not a simple journey to the Cup Series. Both co-owners had to take part in serious discussions about the benefits and negatives of starting a team, as well the driver that would join them for the ride.

Another important discussion surrounded the right to compete in every race on the schedule. The new team needed to acquire a charter, which was another hurdle to overcome.

Fortunately for Hamlin and Jordan, they made the decision at the right time. They were able to acquire a charter from Germain Racing ahead of the 2021 season, and they spent a considerably smaller amount of money than Kaulig Racing and Trackhouse Racing mere months later.

The business partners were able to beat the inevitable run on charters and the massive rise in prices. Though Hamlin and Jordan had to spend a lot of money in 2021 to acquire StarCom Racing’s charter so Kurt Busch would have a guaranteed spot in each race.


Netflix Previously Released the First Trailer for ‘Race: Bubba Wallace’

The clip featuring Hamlin is only the latest update provided by the streaming company. Netflix also released the first trailer for the documentary series on January 27.

The brief clip focused heavily on Bubba Wallace and his move to 23XI Racing ahead of the 2022 Cup Series season. There was an emphasis on the mental aspect of racing at the top level of NASCAR and how Wallace had to juggle the pressure, the media coverage, and everything else while pursuing his first win.

Along with the emphasis on the mental aspect, there was also a look at the 2020 season and how the conversation around NASCAR drastically changed. Specifically, the trailer confirmed that the banning of the Confederate flag and the aftermath of the decision would both play a pivotal role in the series.

READ NEXT: Emmitt Smith Forges His Own Path As a Team Owner

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