NASCAR: What 2021’s 3 new Cup teams all had in common

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

All three of the new NASCAR Cup Series teams from 2021 share one thing in common that only three of the sport’s other full-time teams do.

Even before it began, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season had been dubbed the “best season ever”, and a lot of that had to do with the arrival of three new teams, including two which are co-owned by celebrities.

23XI Racing is co-owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin, and Bubba Wallace is the driver of the #23 Toyota. Trackhouse Racing Team is co-owned by musical artist Pitbull and former driver Justin Marks, and Daniel Suarez is the driver of the #99 Chevrolet.

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And of course, we cannot forget about Live Fast Motorsports, the team co-owned by driver B.J. McLeod and former driver Matt Tifft.

Tifft, now 25, is the youngest team owner in the Cup Series.

McLeod was the primary driver of the #78 Ford, although four other drivers combined to drive in eight of the 36 races on the schedule.

But there is one thing that these three teams all share in common, aside from the obvious fact that they hadn’t competed before the 2021 season.

In 2021, there were 14 other teams competing full-time in the Cup Series, and all of them are named directly after their owners, except for three: Front Row Motorsports, Spire Motorsports and StarCom Racing.

Just look at the list.

  • Chip Ganassi Racing
  • Hendrick Motorsports
  • Joe Gibbs Racing
  • JTG Daugherty Racing
  • Richard Childress Racing
  • Richard Petty Motorsports
  • Rick Ware Racing
  • Roush Fenway Racing
  • Stewart-Haas Racing
  • Team Penske
  • Wood Brothers Racing

All of these are based on owner names.

But none of this past season’s new teams carried on with that trend, doubling the total from three to six.

The closest one of the three is probably 23XI Racing, given the fact that “23” is Jordan’s basketball number and “XI” (11) is Hamlin’s racing number.

But that’s still a whole lot different than Jordan-Hamlin Racing, or something along those lines.

As for the 2022 season, GMS Racing, which have never competed in the Cup Series, merged with Richard Petty Motorsports to form Petty GMS Motorsports, and Kaulig Racing, which have never competed full-time, are set to do so. Roush Fenway Racing were renamed RFK Racing with the addition of Brad Keselowski as a third co-owner.

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It will probably be quite some time before we see three new teams with unique names enter the sport in the same season again.