Ganassi made the surprise announcement on Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, ending his 20-year run as a NASCAR team owner.
His entire operation has been bought by Trackhouse Entertainment Group and Trackhouse Racing, which will field two cars in the premier stock car series from 2022 using CGR’s two NASCAR charters that guarantee race starts (and prize money) in every event.
When asked why he was exiting NASCAR now, with the new Next-Gen car debuting next year, Ganassi replied: “I’ve been sticking around for a long time, I enjoy the sport – and I’m not getting out of the sport, I’m still in motor racing with three other teams in IMSA, IndyCar and Extreme E.
“So I’m still heavily involved in motorsports. I’m not getting out of anything.”
Ganassi revealed his initial surprise at the approach from Trackhouse but soon realised that the time had come to move on from NASCAR with the sweeping changes that are approaching with all-new cars coming into play for the 2022 Cup season.
“At first, it surprised me a little bit, but I have to say that – after thinking about it for a while – it very much reminded me of about 20 years ago, when I was talking to Felix Sabates about getting involved in NASCAR,” said Ganassi. “I felt like there’s a lot of young, energetic thought being put into what Justin was saying.
“With all the new blood that seems to be coming into the sport now, with Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin and maybe [Brad] Keselowski, and Tony Stewart has his team, Jeff Gordon’s back involved, all these sorts of things.
“The sport is great for some new young blood. We talk about a new generation of drivers and I think you’re going to see a new generation of owners now. I think it’s a great thing for the sport.”
Daniel Suarez, TrackHouse Racing, Chevrolet Camaro CommScope, Ross Chastain, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro McDonald’s
Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images
Ganassi also revealed that Trackhouse was the only deal he considered when it came to the sale of the team, and that he hadn’t entertained any other offers for his NASCAR charters.
“I didn’t talk to anybody else about the sale of charters or the sale of our business,” said Ganassi. “I only spoke to Justin. You hear a lot of talk around the [value of] charters, but I wasn’t really listening to much of that.
“In some sense, the charter is doing what it was meant to do in terms of helping the ownership and value the businesses differently or better. I think the system’s working like it’s supposed to.”