Reston, Virginia-based Leidos is going racing with Bubba Wallace and basketball legend Michael Jordan.
Leidos is a science and technology company that, like a NASCAR team, values innovation, performance and speed. But the decision by Leidos to become the primary partner of Jordan’s 23XI Racing Team and official sponsor of Wallace and the No. 23 Toyota Camry TRD goes beyond success on the track.
“We seek to sponsor change agents and Bubba really aligns with our values and his fight for a more inclusive and diverse world is really aligned with our core values,” said Leidos Senior Vice President Melissa Duenas. “We really believe there’s a place for everyone not only in NASCAR, but in all sports and in our company.”
Wallace is the only full-time African American driver competing on NASCAR’s circuits. In October of last year, Wallace made history when he captured his first career Cup Series win at Talladega becoming just the second African American to win in the Cup Series.
The victory by Wallace at Talladega was the first win for 23XI Racing. Jordan along with three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin only started 23XI Racing two years ago and will expand to a two-car organization in 2022 with Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch driving the No. 45 Toyota Camry TRD.
“Some people might think, ‘Oh, it’s just another race team and it could be a flash in the pan,’” said Duenas. “But this is a real professional organization; they have invested in the competencies as a race team. They are bringing on talent, and they are doing everything right to win it all.”
Wallace will make his debut in the Leidos No. 23 car in March at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The company hopes he will continue to inspire a spirit of diversity and inclusion in NASCAR.
“Diversity and inclusion are not just words,” said Duenas. “It is about developing unique core competencies and bringing on board talent that can bring different capabilities and backgrounds and Bubba exemplifies that for us. We also believe that organizations that promote inclusion in sports and at large really are going to have better cultures.”