Being a business partner with Michael Jordan probably takes a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun. Getting 23XI Racing off the ground and being competitive has been a tall task, but in their third season, co-owners Jordan and Denny Hamlin have three wins.
Because of this partnership, Hamlin probably has some great MJ stories, and he told one on the latest episode of his podcast, Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin was asked if Jordan would get in a stock car for a few laps. Hamlin laughed at the thought of the question because he revealed that Jordan tried to use Toyota’s simulator, which wound up getting the best of the NBA GOAT.
“Never again,” Hamlin said. “He did it once, but it was the simulator at TRD. That content has not been released, nor will it probably ever be released because you, good luck trying to get them to approve it. But he wanted to feel what we feel, and so Toyota set it up and our team set it up for him to get in the Toyota simulator. This was a couple years ago, I don’t think it was last year’s …
“So I’m thinking, I said, ‘What kind of track do you want to be on?’ He’s like, ‘I don’t want Daytona it’s just hold her wide open, that’s too easy. Give me something, what’s the next step.’ I’m like,’Alright, let’s go to Charlotte.’ I probably could have picked Las Vegas or something or Michigan probably should have done that, but he didn’t last long. I mean, he did okay, he had a problem holding the car down on the bottom of the track. And then it was probably 15 minutes and he says, ‘I’m done,’ A) he was sweating profusely. It was very hot. They had to modify, you would not believe how they had to modify it like the back seat is out of the simulator so to fit his legs in the pedals. He put the helmet on and he’s just like, ‘Man, I just my eyes, I got so dizzy. Like I just started feeling queasy.’ So he had to quit.”
Full credit to Jordan for trying to experience what drivers experience. A skill effective leaders have is putting themselves in the shoes of those who work under them. Jordan is a lifetime NASCAR fan, so he already had respect for what the drivers did on the track. But only lasting 15 minutes in a simulator has to give him an even more understanding and respect for the racers.
Hamlin was asked by his co-host Jared Allen if Jordan would let Hamlin take him around in a two-seater race car. Hamlin doubted that Jordan would trust him, knowing Hamlin would do everything he could to scare him.
“He wouldn’t trust me to do it. No. Because he knows I’ve tried to scare him. If I get into a two-seater race car, and you are the passenger, the only fun and enjoyment I have is to see you **** your pants…I’m gonna run right up against the wall. If I hit it, that’s fine.
“I haven’t crashed a two-seater car, but I’ve, I try to run right up against the wall to give the people the feeling of, ‘This is how close we can run and not hit it.’ I mean, that’s part of the skill set of what we bring to the table.”
Personally, I have done a ride-along in a pace car and a stock car. Each time, the driver did what he could to scare me, but I loved every second of it. Sure it’s scary, and there’s a risk of crashing, but they race around 39 other cars. So if I would want anyone to give me a scare in a stock car, it should be with someone like Denny Hamlin, who races those cars every week.