One of the most anticipated teams of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season has finally found its name.
The team’s social media channels announced on Thursday that the team will utilize the name “23XI Racing” in their debut season.
𝙃𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙬𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚. #23 pic.twitter.com/vuH3wKRa5M
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) October 22, 2020
The team name is a combination between two iconic numbers. The “23” being the legendary number that NBA legend Michael Jordan carried to all six of his championship titles. The latter number, “11”, is the winningest number in NASCAR history, and the long-time number of NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin released a statement to the team’s website about the team name and vision.
“Michael and I have a shared vision for this team,” Hamlin said. “So it’s exciting to see it reflected in the team name and on the race car with the iconic number 23 that Michael made famous.”
The team will also utilize the number 23, a number synonymous with Michael Jordan and the Jordan brand. The number has been absent from the Cup Series side of competition since 2018. Jimmy Spencer holds the most starts in the 23 at 157. The number also only holds three wins – with two coming from driver Frank Mundy in 1951, and the final win coming from Al Keller in 1954.
The announcement comes a week after a few eagle-eyed Twitter users spotted the trademark filing online on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website. Three trademarks were filed on October 12th including “23XI Racing”, “23XI”, as well as a trademark for the number design.
The 2020 edition of Silly season has been an absolutely wild ride. Rumblings of Denny Hamlin acquiring a charter to become a part-time owner started back earlier this year, with the Michael Jordan component to the equation surfacing around August. Rumors in August suggested that Denny and Bubba would purchase a stake in RPM, as first reported by UNB. The site later came forward and said that the rumor was debunked by FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass.
As time progressed, Jordan’s PR team, at the time, denied that Michael had any part in any NASCAR-related plans.
When the calendar turned to September, and social media ran away with the idea of Denny and Michael partnering for a team. Hamlin and Jordan joked about the matter, but he left the door open, telling Jordan if he was ever interested, it could be a reality.
In mid-September, on a random Monday evening, Denny Hamlin broke the news on Twitter that the long-rumored collaboration between Jordan and Hamlin was true. The entire deal came together in about 10 days.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) September 22, 2020
As far as sponsorship for the team, Bubba is expected to bring over at multiple partners from his time at RPM to 23XI Racing per source.
Additional sponsorship for the team, and driver Bubba Wallace will be confirmed at a later date.