The co-owner of 23XI Racing has just provided some important information to NASCAR fans. Denny Hamlin has revealed that filming is complete on the Netflix documentary about the first-year team he co-owns with NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. He also provided a release window.
Hamlin dropped the news in a very subtle way. He responded to Jason Schultz, a producer at Dirty Mo Media, who complained on Twitter about the lack of NASCAR documentaries in the style of “Formula 1: Drive to Survive.” Schultz said that NASCAR is not currently filming anything, citing the postponement of the USA Network docu-series about the playoffs. However, Hamlin clarified that the Netflix series is still on the way.
“We just wrapped after 7 months of filming for Netflix. Out in Jan,” Hamlin tweeted on Wednesday, Sept. 22. The driver-owner continued and explained that the F1 series has achieved so much success due to its international audience and an international streaming platform in Netflix. He noted that NASCAR has proposed a similar style of a documentary focusing on the entire season but that only the USA Network has expressed interest so far.
News of a 23XI Documentary Surfaced Early in the 2021 Season
As Hamlin noted on Twitter, the documentary about 23XI Racing has remained in progress for most of the 2021 season. Though Netflix and the race team did not provide any details until April 22, 2021.
Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal first broke the news, saying that the new series would take viewers behind the scenes of the 2021 season as 23XI Racing competed for the first time in the NASCAR Cup Series. The yet-untitled project would highlight driver Bubba Wallace, Jordan, Hamlin, and all of the key players in the first-year team as they tried to reach Victory Lane and lock up a spot in the playoffs.
Wallace previously spoke to “Heavy” about the Netflix documentary and expressed happiness about how the camera crew approached their daily schedules. He explained in late August that the series was “not too invasive” and that the crew did not follow him around 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They simply focused more on the behind-the-scenes moments.
The Documentary Series Should Feature Several Important Moments
While 23XI Racing did not reach the playoffs during its first season in existence, the team continued to turn heads for a variety of reasons. Hamlin and Jordan provided no shortage of storylines while putting plans in place for future expansion.
The biggest news throughout the season initially started as a simple report by “The Athletic” writer Jordan Bianchi. He revealed that 23XI Racing had decided to target Kurt Busch as the second driver for the 2022 season. This story understandably turned heads and created major conversations that lasted throughout the summer before 23XI Racing officially added Busch to the fold on Aug. 27.
Along with signing a second driver, 23XI Racing also purchased 15 acres of land in North Carolina that will serve as the site of a future shop. Hamlin and Jordan then named Steve Lauletta as team president, removing the interim tag from his title. Finally, 23XI Racing promoted crew chief Mike Wheeler to director of competition and made Robert “Bootie” Barker the new crew chief. The result was a race at Bristol Motor Speedway where Wallace quietly ran in the top-20 throughout the night and contended for a top-10 finish.
There is no guarantee that Netflix will highlight all of these big decisions in the upcoming documentary series, but they all deserve some form of attention. For now, viewers will have to wait until January to discover what made the final cut.