The hot rumor that has been flying through the NASCAR community for several weeks has been Denny Hamlin potentially buying an ownership stake in Richard Petty Motorsports, and rumors have even included Michael Jordan potentially buying into the team as well. While a spokesperson for Michael Jordan has denied the rumor of Jordan’s involvement to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass several times, Hamlin had a chance to deny the rumor that he’s involved in acquiring a portion of Richard Petty Motorsports on Friday.
In a Friday morning media session, Hamlin was asked about the recent chatter. Rather than call it an unfounded rumor, Hamlin simply stated that he has nothing to announce at this time.
“I don’t have anything to announce or to speak about when it comes to it,” Hamlin explained. “I think I’m always looking towards what I’m going to do once my driving career is over. I have some great partners who support me and my decisions and what I will do for years to come. I don’t know. I wish I had something to announce, but I really don’t. There’s a lot of things up in the air that are still getting worked on…”
That does not sound at all like a denial. Which is surprising. If Hamlin wasn’t involved in any sort of ownership bid for a piece of RPM, you would think he would want to end the rumors once and for all, especially with his best shot ever at a Cup Series title looming in the Playoffs.
Hamlin has six wins thru 25 races in 2020, which is second-best in the series heading into the final regular season race of the year Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. During his media availability, Hamlin admitted that his focus has to be on winning for the remainder of the season. So, if the rumor isn’t true, why not shut it down?
Perhaps, there is still something there.
But if so, wouldn’t he have to leave JGR as a driver in order to be a part-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports? Under NASCAR’s current policing of the four-team rule, yes. As it stands, if a driver wants to become a car owner and drive for another race team, the two teams cannot combine to have a total of more than four cars running at the same time.
However, it’s worth noting that this section of the rule book is littered with, “unless an exception is made by NASCAR.” So, theoretically, NASCAR could make an exception, or they could have an overall change in their interpretation of the rule. But unless one of those two things happen, Hamlin would have to leave JGR to be a team owner.
So, would he leave the only team he has ever driven for in the NASCAR Cup Series to set himself up as a team owner?
“No matter what, my career will be with Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx as long as I want to drive,” Hamlin stated emphatically.
Bob Pockrass tweeted out video from the media call of Hamlin answering the questions about the rumor:
Amid rumors he is interested in investing or finding investors for Richard Petty Motorsports, Denny Hamlin says he is always looking at opportunities to remain involved in NASCAR after he is done racing but his time behind the wheel will be for Joe Gibbs Racing: pic.twitter.com/rR12NAdo3Q
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) August 28, 2020
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.