Basketball legend and athletic shoe icon Michael Jordan is branching out into the world of NASCAR. Jordan is co-owner of 23XI Racing team along with fellow co-owner and current NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin. Bubba Wallace will be the driver for 23XI Racing, not Hamlin. Hamlin will continue to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Speaking of Joe Gibbs Racing, 23XI Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing will be “technical” partners. I think that means they will share data.
23XI Racing unveiled the car last week. Being that it’s 2020, they unveiled it on Twitter:
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) October 30, 2020
It’s a nice looking car.
I used to like NASCAR
I got into watching NASCAR in 1994. I enjoyed it—a lot. My interest in the NASCAR version of motorsport eventually wained. I blame it on Jeff Gorden. He’s the driver I chose to be my favorite driver back in 1994.
When I began watching NASCAR, people told me I needed to choose a favorite driver. So that’s what I did. I picked Gordon because he was new to the sport. He was originally from California like me. The first NASCAR race I ever watched was the inaugural Brickyard 400. He won the race. It seemed like a good fit.
Eventually, I began to dislike my favorite driver. He won far too much of the time. I’ve always believed you cannot be a real fan of a team unless they’ve made you cry, both in sorrow and in joy. You cannot truly appreciate the highs unless you’ve experienced the lows.
Growing to dislike Gordon, my official favorite driver, destroyed NASCAR for me. The glorification of redneckism also began to take a toll on me.
I’m not a fan of redneck culture.
Will Michael Jordan make NASCAR great again?
Over the years, NASCAR has made changes to the sport. The dumbest change was incorporating a playoff system called The Chase. It’s both stupid and annoying. One of the things I originally liked about NASCAR was that it didn’t have a playoff system. The team with the most accumulated points (not wins) after the season’s final race was that year’s champion.
Because of a lack of playoffs, every single race was as significant as every other race.
NASCAR has been bleeding fans and viewers for years now. Having Michael Jordan involved might turn that around.
Nike’s Jordan line of shoes is a worldwide cultural phenomenon. If Michael Jordan can bring even some of that passion to NASCAR, it would be a major win. It would also make the sport less redneckish.
That is always a good thing.