Denny Hamlin is a Coca-Cola driver with JGR while his 23XI team will be sponsored by Dr Pepper; The driver says he can do both
23XI Racing is hard at work to put all the small pieces together, completing the puzzle before the opening NASCAR Cup Series weekend in February at Daytona International Speedway.
It’s founded by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin with Bubba Wallace as the driver. The team has an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.
23XI Racing is fully funded. DoorDash, McDonald’s, Columbia Sportswear, Dr Pepper and Root Insurance have signed on as the five primary sponsors for 2021.
CashApp joined Richard Petty Motorsports last year, in their first sponsorship of a sports team. That company doesn’t appear to have joined Wallace at 23XI Racing like DoorDash and McDonald’s have. The CashApp logos have also been removed from the RPM website.
“I’m pumped to get the season started. I wish Daytona was tomorrow,” Bubba Wallace stated.
“We’re heading in the right direction and we’ll be ready when we get to Daytona. As I’ve said before, this is an opportunity of a lifetime for me and there’s no more excuses. We want to go out and win and I know we’ll have everything we need each week to make that happen.”
“To have great partners in DoorDash, McDonald’s, Columbia Sportswear, Dr Pepper and Root Insurance come on board and show their support of me and this team is really cool. I’m excited for what we can do on the track, but at the end of the day, these partnerships and relationships are so much more than that. It’s about how we use our platforms to be better humans and help create a positive change.”
Wallace added, “It’s about what we do Monday through Friday outside of the fire suit and that’s a really special thing for me. Knowing I have their support and this team behind me makes me really excited for this season to see what we can accomplish together.”
Hamlin finds himself in a unique situation. He’s been a Coca-Cola Racing driver throughout his career. Now, he’s part-owner of a team with backing from Dr Pepper.
Hamlin says he can do both.
Hamlin said, “I’ll have multiple hats. I think you can do both.”
“Dr Pepper came in here and stepped up huge with this race team. And I’ve got such a long standing relationship with Coca-Cola, 16 years now. I think you can differentiate a team sponsor from an individual sponsor. Especially when I drive for Joe Gibbs Racing, who is a Coke team. You can have both, you just gotta balance it.”
23XI Racing shop
23XI Racing purchased their charter from Germain Racing. They are also working out of a shop previously owned by Germain Racing.
“When building a race team, I can’t emphasize enough that this is from the ground up,” Hamlin said.
“I’m looking at catalogs figuring out what the team is going to wear, the polos, the shirts, the sweatshirt … there’s decisions for everything. I wake up every morning and look forward to the emails that I need to respond to. We’re making huge strides right now and I’m really excited about it.”
“Here’s my plans, what am I missing?” Hamlin said.
“How can I make this better? How can I build something where five o’clock comes, people want to hang around? You almost want to create the Google of race shops where everyone’s co-working together. Families come and have lunch, dinner in the café right next to the race shop where they can watch their dad or wife work. That to me is a lot of fun during that process.”
“It’s probably the single biggest thing that a race team is going to have to purchase, so I want to make sure it’s right,” Hamlin added. “… That’s really helped me learn because the management side and the ownership side, I wish I had it figured out but I’m learning this as I go on the business side.”
Hamlin isn’t the type of driver to fill his off-season with special dirt races and asphalt short track events. Instead, he typically turns off racing. That the furthest thing from his mind this year.
“Listen, it’s not a hobby, but it’s like a hobby-ish feel for me where it’s something that’s really, really fun for me,” Hamlin said. “Seeing this thing day by day grow.”
Steve Lauletta is the former president of Chip Ganassi Racing. He’s now the president of 23XI Racing.
“This is not a long-term endeavor to have a one-car race team,” Lauletta said.
“There’s always going to be a desire to continue to grow with the partners we have and make them an even bigger part of the team. But, also have discussions with partners that will see the value in what Bubba will do on the track with the 23 car with the hopes of growing the team into the future.”