Put this one in the “no one saw this coming” category. Newly formed NASCAR Cup tam Trackhouse Racing has bought out Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operations and will expand to a two-car team next season.
Trackhouse founder Justin Marks and Chip Ganassi made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte.
Under the agreement Trackhouse will acquire all NASCAR equipment and the two charters from CGR, with the change going into effect after the 2021 Cup Series season. They will also get the CGR shop located in Charlotte.
“This is a landmark moment for Trackhouse Racing,” Marks said. It is humbling to know we have secured our position in NASCAR for the next decade.”
Marks said the discussions started several months ago with Ganassi.
“Chip has built an iconic motorsports empire and the Ganassi brand is globally recognized as a winner in the auto racing industry,” Marks said. “It is truly an honor that we can build from that foundation.”
Trackhouse Entertainment Group, which is owned by Marks and headquartered in Nashville Tennessee is the parent company of the racing team. Marks said last month that he wants to move the team to Nashville. No word on how this latest acquisition will affect that.
Ganassi said his team will continue to race in the IndyCar, IMSA and Extreme E series and be based out of their facilities in Indianapolis.
Marks partnered with Grammy award winning artist Pitbull who became co-owner of the team shortly after it was founded and signed Daniel Suarez as its first driver. This year the team with Pitbull has collaborated with several philanthropic efforts, including NASCAR-themed STEM education initiatives within inner-city charter schools.
Ganassi’s NASCAR operation began in 1989 with Felix Sabates under the name Team SABCO. In 2001, Ganassi purchased a majority stake in the team to form Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. In 2009, Ganassi partnered with Teresa Earnhardt to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and that was the team’s name until 2014 when the Earnhardt name was dropped.
Chip Ganassi Racing has two drivers in the Cup Series this season, 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch in the No. 1 Chevrolet and rookie Ross Chastain in the No. 42 Chevrolet. Busch ranks 14th in points and is three points ahead the playoff cutline. Chastain ranks 22nd in points.
“My NASCAR team was not for sale,” Ganassi said. “Justin simply came to me with a great offer and an even better vision. As everyone knows, I care deeply for my employees so selling to someone like Justin, who is part of the CGR family, made the reality of selling much easier.”
Marks said Wednesday that Suarez will continue as one of their drivers in 2021, with a second to be named later. Whether that will be Chastain or Busch remains to be seen. Rumors have Busch going to another new team 23XI Racing owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan, or possibly joining the Fox Sports booth in place of Jeff Gordon who will be taking on an executive role at Hendrick Motorsports in 2022.