23XI Racing

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23XI Racing
23XI Racing logo.png
Owner(s)Michael Jordan
Denny Hamlin
Principal(s)Steve Lauletta (President)[1]
BaseMooresville, North Carolina[2]
SeriesNASCAR Cup Series
Race drivers23. Bubba Wallace
Sponsors23. DoorDash, Columbia Sportswear, McDonald's, Root, Inc., Dr Pepper, DraftKings, Toyota[3]
ManufacturerToyota
Opened2020
Career
Debut2021 Daytona 500 (Daytona)
Latest race2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 (Texas)
Races competed33
Drivers' Championships0
Race victories1
Pole positions0

23XI Racing (pronounced twenty-three eleven) is an American professional auto racing organization that competes in the NASCAR Cup Series. It is owned and operated by Hall of Fame basketball player Michael Jordan, with current Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin as a minority partner. The team fields the No. 23 Toyota for driver Bubba Wallace, with a technical alliance with JGR.[4]

History[edit]

During the summer of 2020, rumors swirled that basketball player Michael Jordan intended on purchasing an ownership stake in Richard Petty Motorsports, who fielded the only black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, Bubba Wallace. Such claims were repeatedly denied by Jordan's management team.[5][6]

On September 8, 2021, veteran motorsports executive Steve Lauletta was named team president after serving as the interim president since the team's foundation.[1]

Car No. 23 history[edit]

Bubba Wallace (2021)[edit]

Wallace's No. 23 car during the 2021 Toyota/Save Mart 350

On September 21, 2020, Jordan and Denny Hamlin announced the formation of a Cup team to begin competition in 2021 with Jordan as majority owner, Hamlin as minority owner and Wallace as the driver.[7] The team bought a guaranteed starting spot in every 2021 race by purchasing a charter from Germain Racing.[8] The team's name, car number and manufacturer were not revealed at the time of the announcement.[9] Hamlin later said that the two had discussed owning a team but that it never came to fruition.[10] On October 22, the team announced its name, 23XI Racing, and would use the number 23 (Jordan's number during his basketball career).[11] On October 30, the team revealed that they will run Toyotas with a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing (whose No. 11 car is driven by Hamlin) and operate out of a shop owned (and formerly used by) Germain Racing.[4] On December 14, 23XI Racing announced that DoorDash, McDonald's, Columbia Sportswear, Dr Pepper, and Root, Inc. will be the sponsors of the No. 23 team in 2021. It was also announced that several crew members of the former Germain operation would join the team as a pit crew.[3] On February 3, it was announced that former Germain driver Ty Dillon (who attempted to make the Daytona 500 with fellow Toyota team Gaunt Brothers Racing) would run the car in the 2021 Busch Clash, as Wallace was not eligible to run the clash.[12]

Wallace finished second in his Duel, and finished 17th at the 2021 Daytona 500 after being involved in a last lap crash. At the Daytona, road course he had troubles all day and finished 26th. Wallace struggled out the gate until Phoenix, which was his first strong run of the season. Wallace was running top 15 for most of the day before working his way into the top 10. Following a caution and most of the field pitting, while Wallace stayed out, he restarted first. This move did not work out well for Wallace. Due to him being on old tires and the rest of the field being on new tires, Wallace was quickly cycled out of the first position, dropped back, and wound up making contact with Cole Custer. He ended up finishing 16th.[13] At the 2021 GEICO 500 at Talladega, Wallace had a strong car the entire day. Wallace was running top 10 for a good portion of the day, and ended up winning stage 2. This was Wallace's first career stage win. After an overtime restart, Wallace was cycled to the back of the pack, and wound up finishing 19th. At Dover, Wallace finished 11th. At Pocono, Wallace finished the first race in 14th, but finished the second race fifth, scoring the team's best finish and their first top-five. He finished third at the 2021 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, but he was officially scored with a second-place finish after Chris Buescher was disqualified post-inspection.[14] On September 16, Bootie Barker was named crew chief for the remainder of the season after Wheeler was promoted to Director of Competition.[15] Wallace scored his first career win at a rain-shortened Talladega race, becoming only the second Black driver after Wendell Scott to win a Cup race.[16]

Car No. 23 results[edit]

23XI Racing No. 23
Year Driver No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Owners Pts
2021 Bubba Wallace 23 Toyota DAY
17
DAY
26
HOM
22
LVS
28
PHO
16
ATL
16
BRI
27
MAR
16
RCH
26
TAL
19
KAN
26
DAR
21
DOV
11
COA
39
CLT
14
SON
14
NSH
20
POC
14
POC
5
ROA
24
ATL
14
NHA
26
GLN
23
IND
13
MCH
19
DAY
2
DAR
21
RCH
32
BRI
16
LVS
16
TAL
1
CLT
14
TEX
32
KAN MAR PHO -* -*

Car No. 45 history[edit]

Kurt Busch (2022)[edit]

On August 27, 2021, 23XI Racing announced that Kurt Busch will pilot the No. 45 Toyota Camry in 2022.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Steve Lauletta Named Team President of 23XI Racing". Jayski's Silly Season Site. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. September 8, 2021. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  2. ^ "Hamlin expands on 23XI plans". Racer.com. Racer Media & Marketing, Inc. October 30, 2020. Archived from the original on October 31, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "23XI Racing announces sponsors". Jayski's Silly Season Site. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. December 14, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Bubba Wallace, Denny Hamlin reveal manufacturer, technical alliance for 23XI Racing". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. October 30, 2020. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Barrabi, Thomas (August 27, 2020). "Michael Jordan not interested in buying into Bubba Wallace's NASCAR team, rep says". FOX Business. FOX News Network, LLC. Archived from the original on October 9, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  6. ^ Taranto, Steven (August 28, 2020). "'No truth' to rumor of Michael Jordan exploring NASCAR ownership". 247Sports. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  7. ^ "Bubba Wallace to drive for owners Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin in 2021". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. September 21, 2020. Archived from the original on October 4, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Li, David K.; Long, Dustin (September 22, 2020). "Michael Jordan buys spot to form NASCAR team, hires Bubba Wallace". NBC News. Archived from the original on October 8, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  9. ^ "Denny Hamlin forming Cup team with Michael Jordan; Bubba Wallace to drive; charter from Germain Racing". Jayski's Silly Season Site. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. September 21, 2020. Archived from the original on October 2, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  10. ^ "Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin to field NASCAR Cup car with Bubba Wallace driving". ESPN. Associated Press. September 21, 2020. Archived from the original on October 10, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  11. ^ Long, Dustin (October 22, 2020). "Michael Jordan-Denny Hamlin team to be known as 23XI Racing". NBC Sports. Archived from the original on October 24, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  12. ^ "Ty Dillon to run Busch Clash for 23XI Racing". Jayski's Silly Season Site. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  13. ^ "The Underdog House: Big Day for Bubba Wallace Slips Away at Phoenix". Frontstretch.com. March 14, 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  14. ^ "Coke Zero Sugar 400". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. August 28, 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  15. ^ "Mike Wheeler named Director of Competition at 23XI Racing; Bootie Barker to serve as crew chief for rest of 2021". Jayski's Silly Season Site. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. September 17, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  16. ^ "Bubba Wallace joins Wendell Scott as second Black driver to win in NASCAR's top series". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. October 4, 2021. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  17. ^ "Kurt Busch joins 23XI Racing to drive second Cup car in 2022". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. August 29, 2021.

External links[edit]