NASCAR: 23XI Racing debuts first paint scheme for Daytona 500

Jul 12, 2020; Sparta, Kentucky, USA; Bubba Wallace looks on prior to the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark Humphrey/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network

NASCAR’s newest team debuted their new look on Thursday, one that channels the aesthetics of Michael Jordan’s glory days on the hardwood.

Cue up The Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius”, because No. 23 is ready to emerge in the starting lineup.

23XI Motorsports unveiled its first full paint scheme on Thursday morning, as the new team funded by NBA legend Michael Jordan and current NASCAR star Denny Hamlin nears its debut at the 2021 Daytona 500. Bubba Wallace will pilot the Toyota in its maiden voyage and beyond with sponsorship from DoorDash, a San Francisco-based food delivery service.

The car itself channels the red jerseys Jordan wore during the height of his NBA powers with the Chicago Bulls, complete with a black No. 23. Wallace and Hamlin each offered their praise on their social media accounts, the latter describing it as “Clean, not messy. Just like schemes used to be”.

The scheme will likely be seen at several points this season, but the team confirmed that it will first be seen at the season-opener at Daytona. Unlike some other new teams, the No. 23 is locked into the main events through purchasing a charter from defunct Germain Racing. Sponsorship deals are also in place with McDonald’s, Columbia Sportswear, Dr. Pepper, and Root Insurance. Schemes and appearances with those sponsors will be released at a future date.

23XI (pronounced “twenty-three eleven”) is the latest business endeavor of Jordan, who is also the principal owner and chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. Jordan is the first Black principal owner of a NASCAR Cup Series race team since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott ran his own team over 13 seasons (1961-73), serving as the primary driver in that span. He enters the endeavor with Hamlin, the current driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and winner of 44 Cup Series races. Wallace, a six-time winner in the NASCAR Truck Series, is coming off a career-best season at the Cup level, earning five top-ten finishes and coming home 22nd in the final standings in his last season with Richard Petty Motorsports.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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