Prior to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, the prospects of Michael Jordan getting involved in stock car racing were truly quite remote. After all, the six-time NBA champion and five-time NBA Most Valuable Player is focused on his role as the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
Prior to his tenure as the Hornets’ owner, Jordan made his presence known as one of the greatest players to lace up on the hardwood from 1984 to 2001 with respites between 1993-’95 and 1998-’01.
The pride of Wilmington, North Carolina, was the face of the Chicago Bulls with two remarkable and memorable three-peat championships, basically the basketball equivalent of Dale Earnhardt.
Following NASCAR’s return from the COVID-19 break and the introduction of the Black Lives Matter movement, Jordan joined his friend and Cup Series stalwart Denny Hamlin to form 23XI Racing.
Jordan’s presence in NASCAR is quite remarkable not only with his contributions in the sports world but with his intentions as an authentic Cup Series team co-owner.
The 57-year-old sports icon made it known that he’s not fielding this team merely to log laps.
“If you’re asking me, I want to win tomorrow as soon as we get on the track,” Jordan said. “I know it is a process. It’s a process and you’re going to have to learn it. But if every step, each day, you move towards winning the day, tomorrow is better than the day yesterday, I have hope.”
Jordan and Hamlin recruited Bubba Wallace, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate and the 2018 Daytona 500 runner-up, to drive the No. 23 Toyota Camry. With cars built by Joe Gibbs Racing and veteran crew chief Mike Wheeler at the helm, Jordan is wasting no time toward immediate NASCAR success.
When Brendan Droppo was introduced to NASCAR by his father during his childhood, little did he know that he’d combine his love of art with motorsports.
Developing a passion for art and design as a child, Droppo merged his talents in graphic design with conceptualizing the next paint schemes for NASCAR drivers and teams.
Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Droppo, much like the late Sam Bass, captures the thrill of speed, competition and victory in his designs. In fact, Droppo designed paint schemes for Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 car sponsored by Lowe’s and Ally, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Alex Bowman with the No. 88 Nationwide ride, and Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevy sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts and Hooters.
Studying graphic design at the Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology from 2008 to ’11, Droppo’s modern approach perfectly fits the designs appearing on various Hendrick Motorsports entries.
For the young Canadian, the memories of attending NASCAR races with his father left a lasting impression in terms of the paint schemes he saw during those years.
“I fell in love with the fact that it was more than just a sports jersey with a number and a color,” Droppo said. “I loved how paint schemes changed every year. As a kid, I would dream of seeing my own designs on the track.”
After earning one of his first breaks as the paint-scheme designer for Xxxtreme Motorsports’ No. 44 car in 2013, Droppo was tasked with designing Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. To say the least, it was the opportunity of a lifetime that led to more collaborations with Hendrick Motorsports.
“Any time I get a new project, I’m grateful for it and appreciate it,” Droppo said. “I put a lot of passion into each one.”