NASCAR: Does Michael Jordan sign checks for losers?

Michael Jordan, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Michael Jordan, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) /

It’s a quote we will always look back on when Michael Jordan’s NASCAR Cup Series has success. Kurt Busch backed it up on Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

Kurt Busch made history in more ways than one in Sunday afternoon’s AdventHealth 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, which saw him make a late pass on former Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kyle Larson to secure the victory.

The win was the 34th of the 2004 series champion’s Cup Series career, and it was his first since joining 23XI Racing as the driver of the #45 Toyota ahead of the 2022 season.

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23XI Racing, the Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan-owned team which joined the Cup Series last year with Bubba Wallace as the driver of the #23 Toyota, added a second car for Busch this year, and the move has already paid off.

In just his 13th start for the team, Busch delivered them their second ever victory, getting the #45 car back to victory lane for the first time since LeeRoy Yarborough won at Greenville-Pickens Speedway 1964.

In doing so, Busch became the first driver to win for each of the sport’s last four manufacturers (Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge), just 12 races after becoming only the second driver to have had the chance to compete for all four.

While Busch hasn’t officially clinched a playoff berth, it is going to be tough for him to drop out of the 16 provisional spots in the playoff picture as a 2022 race winner.

Provided that there aren’t more than 16 regular season winners (or, if there are, that Busch wins again or ranks high enough in the point standings to avoid being left out of the top 16 on a tiebreaker), he has likely secured the team’s first ever playoff spot.

Following his victory, which made the 2022 season his ninth consecutive winning season, an old quote from Michael Jordan re-emerged.

Before the team made their series debut in 2021, many had suggested that their signing of Wallace as the first driver of the #23 Toyota was somewhat of a publicity stunt, given what most of the headlines were surrounding Wallace throughout the 2020 season.

Plus, past animosity between Wallace and Hamlin had fans some questioning the decision.

Jordan responded.

“We don’t sign checks for losers!” he said with a laugh back before 23XI Racing made their Cup Series debut in last year’s Daytona 500.

It is a quote that many critics pointed to and continued to bring up as Wallace struggled last season.

But it also became one that many fans pointed to when Wallace secured them their first win last October.

Jordan insisted that he believed in Wallace’s ability to win races, and while it came in a rain-shortened event at Talladega Superspeedway, Wallace was able to deliver the team their first ever Cup Series win.

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Not that there was ever any doubt about Busch’s talent and his unique ability to make any team better, Sunday’s race proved yet again that Michael Jordan does not sign checks for losers.