Denny Hamlin did not confirm nor deny a rumor that he was interested in spearheading a consortium to purchase a stake in Richard Petty Motorsports.
The three-time Daytona 500 winner conceded he was working on several open-ended projects but had nothing to imminently announce.
Speculation had started to form over the last two weeks that Hamlin and Michael Jordan were looking to invest into RPM and transition that organization towards a Toyota Racing Development alliance.
“I don’t have anything to announce or to speak about when it comes to it,” Hamlin said when asked about his rumored interest in the team that fields cars for Bubba Wallace.
“I think that I’m always looking towards what I’m going to do after my driving career is over. I’ve got some great partners that support me and my decisions in what I will do for years to come. So, I don’t know. I wish I had something to announce, but I really don’t.
“There’s a lot of things up in the air that are still getting worked on, but I just got – I’ve got to win this weekend and next weekend, and that’s where I’ve got to focus, but certainly I believe that, no matter what, my career will be with Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx as long as I want to drive.”
Hamlin, 39, has driven for Gibbs throughout the duration of his NASCAR career. Hamlin has six victories this season and is a leading contender to challenge for his first Cup Series championship.
The native Virginian has another year left on his contract with Gibbs and has only been sponsored by FedEx during his Cup Series tenure. Hamlin was also asked if the potential viability of the incoming Next-Gen car has piqued his interest in future team ownership.
“When I look at my career in racing, I’ve been around for 15 years in the Cup Series,” Hamlin said. “I always think about what I want to do afterwards. I don’t know that ownership will be it. I don’t know what my role will be, but I know that it will probably be in NASCAR in some kind of way, shape or form.
“I’m always looking at avenues that would allow me to stay in the sport beyond driving. Certainly, it’s a sport that I believe in. Certainly, the financial model hopefully will get better in the next few years for the team owners, regardless if I’m in it or not. But I don’t know. My focus has got to be on driving and winning a championship for Toyota and FedEx right now. If there’s ever opportunities to prepare myself for the future, then I look to capitalize on those.”
Current NASCAR regulations prevent a driver from owning a stake in an opposing organization. In other words, Hamlin could not own a stake in Petty or any other team while driving for another like Gibbs. NASCAR rules also limit organizations to just four cars, although teams skirt these rules by offering satellite arrangements.
Leavine Family Racing uses Gibbs chassis and employs Toyota’s top development driver, Christopher Bell. Richard Childress Racing’s campus in North Carolina is also home to Germain Racing, Kaulig Racing and RPM.
The last driver to own a stake in an opposing team was Dale Earnhardt Sr., who was grandfathered in when NASCAR made the rule. He drove for Childress while operating Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Hamlin and Wallace are both represented by the ProSport Management agency. A representative of Jordan has denied the rumor’s veracity.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!