HomeSportsNASCAR: Bubba Wallace Opens Up on His Relationship With 23XI Team Co-Owner Michael Jordan

NASCAR: Bubba Wallace Opens Up on His Relationship With 23XI Team Co-Owner Michael Jordan

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

During a recent conversation with PopCulture, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace opened up about his relationship with NBA icon Michael Jordan who owns the 23XI Racing team.

The former 6-time NBA champion teamed up with NASCAR veteran Denny Hamlin to create the new 23XI Racing team. While the new team hasn’t won a race yet, Wallace has progressed and recently earned a season-high 11th place finish. The No. 23 driver spoke about what it’s like to work with Jordan in their first season together. Wallace admits it’s still a bit “surreal” talking to the legendary basketball player regularly.

“Yeah, he’s definitely been a phone call or a text away for sure,” Bubba Wallace said to PopCulture. “Always saying good luck or good race after, each and every race. It’s been cool to get those text messages. And it’s still surreal to see MJ is shooting me a message. Driving home is kind of surreal as well, but all in all, we’re all competitive. Myself, Denny, and MJ – we want to win. We want to grow this team to outstanding heights. And it really starts with this year and getting everything underneath us as a solid foundation.”

Bubba Wallace Shares Love for Team Sponsor McDonald’s

For the last few years, fast food giant McDonald’s has been one of Bubba Wallace’s key sponsorships. The brand has carried over as one of 23XI Racing’s top sponsors as well.

During the same interview, the racer shared about his recent experience visiting McDonald’s Chicago headquarters. While there, Wallace was one of 37 virtual drivers in the Windy City 110 – the first-ever street course race in Chicago. The new virtual course is part of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, which began last year as an alternative racing event in the COVID-19 pandemic. Wallace also revealed some of the major differences between virtual racing and real life NASCAR races.

“It’s actually the physical feel,” Wallace explained. “I’ve spent a couple of days here in Chicago throughout my career coming up here, racing over at the speedway. But I don’t remember any of the streets and how bumpy they are. So getting a feel for that on the SIM here has been challenging. If we do get it to where we actually come here in real life, it’ll be a heck of a show for the fans that they definitely want to attend.”

Additionally, Bubba Wallace spoke more about his appreciation for his sponsor McDonald’s. It runs deeper than just needed funding for the team. The company has also generously supported their other initiatives within racing as well.

“They’ve stepped up in a huge way this year in becoming one of the founding partners of our race team at 23XI racing. And then also for me to be able to sign on as a mentor for the Black and Positively Golden Mentorship. I’ve really had fun with that,” Wallace added. “Myself and Rajah Caruth, giving him some pointers, another fellow African-American youngster coming up through the sport, trying to make a name for himself. Giving him all my tips and tricks and words of wisdom to help him guide his way has been really cool and I appreciate McDonald’s being behind us and supporting both of us.”