By Lewis Franck special to KickinTheTires.net
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Chip Ganassi just might be the person most shocked at the news of his selling his NASCAR team to Trackhouse Racing led by founder Justin Marks.
“I must say our team was not for sale,” Ganassi said at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday. “Justin simply came to me with a great offer and even a better vision for racing.”
Marks and Ganassi have a relationship going back to the time when Marks drove in the Xfinity Series for Ganassi.
“Trackhouse will take ownership of the assets at the conclusion of the 2021 racing season,” said Trackhouse team president, Ty Norris. “Daniel Suárez, who is a current driver for Trackhouse Racing in the No. 99 Chevrolet, will continue as one of our drivers, and we will be discussing a second driver at a later date, which is a confirmation that Trackhouse Racing will be fielding two full‑time NASCAR Cup Series entries starting in 2022 and moving deep into the future.”
Ganassi currently fields two Chevrolets in the Cup Series one for Cup Champion Kurt Busch and one for Ross Chastain. That begs the question of which driver will be retained for 2022. Busch’s contract is up for renewal and Ganassi declined to speculate if Busch will be the returning driver.
Trackhouse is a new team, which debuted this year with co-owner Armando Christian Pérez, known professionally by his stage name Pitbull.
The deal came together very quickly in NASCAR terms.
“This was the middle of April,” Marks said, explaining when the negotiations started.
Merging three Cup teams into two will be a difficult task. Not just deciding on the second driver but deciding on which engineers and crew will make up the newly merged team next year.
“The first step is me going to school and really learning how that organization is run. The biggest company I have has 35 employees jumping up to three figures is a different ballgame,” Marks told a small group of reporters.
About the current technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, he added “I do anticipate that relationship will be continued.”
“It’s not lost on me at all that I have a lot to learn,” he concluded.
The NASCAR community reacted quickly, for example, Chris Schwartz, the president of The Motor Racing Network and an industry insider for many years, tweeted that the “impact likely not fully realized for quite some time … but make no mistake today’s that the announcement was seismic.”
— chris schwartz (@schwartz_chris) June 30, 2021
While the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed the whisper number in the NASCAR community was the sale of the two charters, the teams, and cars could be as much as $20 million.