23XI Racing is currently in the middle of its second full-time Cup Series season, the first with two drivers. The team has made major strides, and now co-owner Denny Hamlin has revealed his ideal future setup featuring three drivers.
The driver-owner appeared on “The Dale Jr. Download” on May 24 to discuss a wide variety of topics. One of the biggest was the future of 23XI Racing. Hamlin used the opportunity to explain that he would like to expand again and bring in another driver that can help the team continue to move in the right direction.
“I think probably three is the proper number,” Hamlin explained to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mike Davis. “I think that when you think — look at efficiencies when it comes to your personnel, the departments that you have — you gain from one to two [teams]. That’s good. Three is a slight gain and then a fourth team it’s like hiring a whole new team again. You’ve got to hire the additional people. So three is kind of a good sweet spot for your resources.”
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Hamlin Addressed Possibilities of Driving for 23XI Racing
With Hamlin stating that he wants to have three cars at 23XI Racing, there are some inevitable questions about his own future. Will he head to his own team after his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing expires?
Hamlin said to Earnhardt and Davis that he doesn’t know the future lineup plans for Joe Gibbs Racing. He explained that no one knows when Ty Gibbs will move up to the Cup Series, nor do they know which drivers will be in which series and in what equipment. He said that he wished he knew so that he could plan accordingly for his own future.
Hamlin said that he would be willing to move to 23XI Racing to finish out his career. He would need the charter to guarantee entry into every race, and he would need to know that the equipment was just as strong as at JGR. However, Hamlin clarified that he wants to finish out his career with one team and one sponsor.
“Not if FedEx extends,” Hamlin said about moving to 23XI Racing. “I would like to retire at Gibbs with FedEx because it’s just so unique to have a sponsor that has been part of the sport for as long as they have and backed me as long as they have. There’s just no way I could leave them. Maybe at that point, I just run one or two races, but then I wouldn’t win my last race probably. I would just like to retire at Gibbs with FedEx.”
1 Big Hurdle Stands in the Way of This Expansion
There is one obvious hurdle standing in the way of Hamlin moving to a three-car operation. He has to acquire a charter that guarantees entry into every race on the schedule, as well as a larger portion of the purse. However, there is another major hurdle that Hamlin revealed in an interview with the Sports Business Journal.
Hamlin explained that he had a meeting with NASCAR CEO Jim France about the future of the sport. He said that he had told France that 23XI Racing is going to place any plans to buy more charters or develop new headquarters on hold until the teams know if they will have a bigger piece of the TV rights deal. He told France that the business model would have to change so that the teams and NASCAR can grow the sport together instead of worrying about cutting.
“The pie is big enough, you’ve just got to divide it evenly,” Hamlin told Earnhardt and Davis when discussing his conversation with France. “Ultimately, we are in a sport where we have to rely on sponsorships. And in a world where your sponsorship dollars has so many places where it can go now, I mean, you can go have your name on the front of an MLS team for what we charge half a season for.
“There’s just so many more options now for these companies to spend their money that we are scratching and clawing to get the sponsorship. Where it used to be, if you wanted your name out there, you had to put it on a race team.”