Struggling to establish any real consistency this season, the second-year 23XI Racing organization co-owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin got a huge boost this past weekend when Kurt Busch took the company to Victory Lane for just the second time in its existence. 23XI, which also fields the No. 23 Toyotas of Bubba Wallace, expanded from one to two teams in 2022 by bringing Busch — a series veteran and the 2004 series champion — on board to drive the new No. 45 car.
Clearly, that move has paid off, thanks not only to Busch’s win on Sunday at Kansas but the fact that by virtue of it, he will assure 23XI of having a car in the playoffs for the first time. When Wallace went to Victory Lane for the organization last fall at Talladega, the playoffs were already underway and the playoff field had been set. How significant was Busch’s playoff-clinching victory for 23XI as a whole?
“It’s big on a lot of levels,” Hamlin said. “It’s just huge. I said it when Bubba won last year how huge it was. This is obviously a big one. I’ve seen over the last three weeks that this team just continues to get better and better and better. And truthfully, I’ve kind of let them down with what we’ve had on pit road, and we haven’t given the drivers an honest chance this year. In a race, track position means everything. Our drivers have been outperforming what we’ve given them on pit road, and at Kansas it all came together.”