Jordan Brand made their NASCAR debut and Kurt Busch drove it to the win at Kansas Speedway
On Sunday, Jordan Brand made their debut as a primary sponsor on the No. 45 car. The car is owned by Michael Jordan himself. With the Air Jordan logo on the hood, the paint scheme was inspired by the iconic “Black Cement” Jordan 3 sneakers.
Hear from Michael Jordan below.
“It’s an awesome amount of pressure to race for a living Smithsonian,” Busch told KSHB last year when he joined the team. “He’s a legend, he’s the GOAT and arguably the GOAT of all of sports. I’ve just met him once. It was a great discussion that we had, kind of like an interview, and a, ‘Yes, we will win together.’ So, it comes with pressure, but I love that.”
In the closing laps on Sunday, Kurt Busch lost the lead as he exited pit road in 3rd. He had to drive by brother Kyle Busch as well as Kyle Larson.
With 20 laps to go, Kurt Busch was around his brother and running down the leader. With 9 to go, Larson got loose and Kurt Busch had a run. He looked to the inside and ran side by side for the win.
Busch crowded Larson off turn two. Larson got tight, ran out of room and tagged the wall. It was a clean pass as Busch never made contact with Larson.
Kurt Busch claimed his first win with 23XI Racing. It comes in his 13th race with his new team.
Denny Hamlin lost as a driver of the No. 11. However, his 23XI Racing team went to victory lane with Kurt Busch and the emotions are, different.
Denny Hamlin expresses his feelings on the win
Directly after climbing from his car, Hamlin walked over to Kurt Busch and stuck his head in the window to share the moment with his new driver.
Kurt Busch screamed as Hamlin came in the window, “We did it! We did this. Hell yeah!”
“I’m so happy for these drivers,” Hamlin told NBC Sports with tears in his eyes.
“We as an organization have kinda let these guys down. I’m talking about Bubba and Kurt, with so many mistakes that we’ve made on pit road. You know, Bubba got let down again, on the last stop. But, he was fast. I thought he was a little better than I was.”
“We had to go to the back, three times today. But, lets talk about the positives. Jordan Brand’s first race, I’m so jealous he gets to drive that car.”
“I’ve never had this kind of feeling. Even for a win, for me. It’s different.”
Hamlin details Michael Jordan’s reaction
“It’s awesome because we’re actually going down to his golf course for a Monster Energy outing. I’m going to go a day early and just destroy his house, if he’ll let me. Which he probably won’t,” Denny Hamlin stated from the media center after the win.
“But yeah, he was just absolutely so excited. Beyond the brand itself, he’s been lock, stop and step with me, with everything. To have the trust in me with some of the outlandish decisions and hires that I want to make. How I want to build this team, I can’t do it without his support.”
“I just can’t thank him enough for believing in me. I want to build a championship contending team in 5 years. We’re year 1.3, this is really early. I can’t emphasize enough, we had to build from the ground up.”
“It’s a long process. It’s hard to come out and compete and beat some of these organizations that have been around for 30 years. Just, nearly impossible.”
Kurt Busch comments
“I don’t do this alone,” Kurt Busch stated seconds after climbing from the car.
“The way Toyota has helped us, JGR. My little brother has been so important just on the family side of, ‘Hey, you gotta get through these steps.’ “
“This is our first win for the No. 45 car. And with Jordan Brand on the hood, I felt like I had to play like the GOAT! Or race like the GOAT.”
“I had to beat the Kyles. I had to beat both.”
“It’s the most gratifying to work from the ground up with a brand new car number. I’ve been with a lot of teams, a lot of manufactures. This is a check off the Toyota box.”
Busch added, “I’m going to go find Toto because I’m in Kansas. I’m loving it.”
Michael Jordan comments
After the win, Michael Jordan issued the following statement:
“Kurt ran a great race today and I’m so happy for him, the 45 crew and our entire 23XI Racing Team. This win showed why Kurt is a champion and why we brought him on board.”
It’s the 9th year in a row that Kurt Busch has claimed a NASCAR Cup Series win. He’s now tallied 34 wins.