After a historic NASCAR win, Michael Jordan sent encouragement to Black-owned racing team

Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, is the first Black principal owner to win a Daytona 500.

A Black-owned racing team received some words of support from Michael Jordan — arguably the greatest basketball player of all time — after their historic NASCAR victory.

Former NBA player Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, is, like Jordan, one of the two Black owners in NASCAR. On Sunday, he became the first Black principal owner whose racing team ever won a Daytona 500 after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. defied the odds and finished in front, according to The Charlotte Observer.

“[Jordan] reached out and said, ‘Congratulations, my brother. Outstanding. I’m so proud of you,'” Daugherty recalled of the text exchange with his longtime friend, according to The Observer. “And I just told him, I said, ‘You know, I am so proud of you.'”

Former NBA player Brad Daugherty (above), co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, is, like his superstar friend, fellow ex-NBA athlete Michael Jordan, one of the two Black owners in all of NASCAR. (Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images for The Wellness Experience by Kroger)

JTG Daugherty Racing is one of NASCAR’s most diverse race teams. As a result of Stenhouse’s victory, co-owner Jodi Geschickter joins Teresa Earnhardt as the only female owners to have won the Daytona 500, The Observer reported Thursday.

Daugherty and Jordan are the only Black principal owners with a NASCAR Cup Series charter. The Chicago Bulls icon is a co-owner of 23XI Racing, the team for which Bubba Wallace drives as the only Black racer in the Cup Series.

“The reality of it is,” Daugherty said of his friend, The Observer reported, “without Michael Jordan, and I told him this, we don’t have an African American driver sitting in a seat who’s capable of winning a race every week.”

Daugherty added that he told the NBA legend racing “has been my sport for 35 years,” maintaining that he’s been the African American male attempting to forge a path toward opportunity, which he’s been successful in doing.

But despite his best attempts, Daugherty said, he — unlike Jordan — couldn’t put a skilled driver like Wallace in a racecar that could consistently take first place. But thanks to Jordan’s capacity, Daugherty noted, Wallace has a shot at winning a race each week and could eventually claim the championship.

Nobody in motor racing would have given Wallace the chance Jordan did, according to Daugherty.

“No one else was gonna give him the opportunity that he deserved. And he got it. And so, that’s where Michael and I stand,” he added. “And I’m pulling for Michael Jordan every weekend to be successful. And I’m hoping that we beat him, obviously, but I pull for him every weekend.”

While Daugherty could not attend the race on Sunday due to eye surgery that made it difficult to see in sunlight, he was in joyful disbelief about his team’s victory as he watched it on television at his Orlando residence.

After all, JTG Daugherty’s 50-person, one-Cup-car team had defeated the big names on the competition’s most prominent platform.

Jordan texted him; NASCAR President Steve Phelps called him, and even Wallace, the 23XI Racing star, messaged him. Daugherty said he told Wallace the same thing he shared with Jordan: He pulls for him every weekend — after his own team’s driver, of course.

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