One of racing's true gentlemen and most beloved figures, Floyd Ganassi Sr., has passed away of natural causes in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Penn., Monday according to the Chip Ganassi racing team.
Father to NASCAR and IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi, the 87-year old Ganassi was a fixture at most races for decades, snapping photos on the starting grid or entertaining guests at Ganassi's trackside hospitality suites. He was a gentlemen and the greatest of his son's supporters.
"It is with heavy hearts that everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams offers our condolences to Chip Ganassi and the whole Ganassi family on the passing today of Chip's father, Floyd Ganassi,'' the team said in a statement Monday afternoon.
"Everyone that knew Floyd knew that he was beloved at racetracks all across the country and leaves a long trail of great friends. Floyd Ganassi will be sorely missed by us all."
Ganassi helped launch his son Chip's racing career in the 1980s. After convincing Ganassi that team ownership might be a better path than driving, he helped establish the Ganassi racing team that has won four Indianapolis 500s and in 2001 expanded to include a NASCAR team.
Juan Pablo Montoya, who won an Indy 500 and open-wheel championship for Ganassi before coming to his NASCAR team tweeted today, "It's a shame we lost today a great person. Floyd Ganassi we really gonna miss u. He was a great friend."
The racing industry remembered Floyd Ganassi and showed its support for his family in statements on Monday.
"Floyd Ganassi was a special man," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said. "He loved racing and was very important to me and my family.
"We wish him Godspeed and extend our sincere condolences to the entire Ganassi family. I hope they will find peace at this difficult time."
In 2010 Ganassi's team made history as the first to win both the Daytona 500 (with driver Jamie McMurray) and the Indy 500 (Dario Franchitti) in the same year.
"We are saddened by the passing of Floyd Ganassi, a very genuine man and a true friend to racing. He always had a smile on his face. Floyd will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chip and the entire Ganassi family," Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, said.
No other details have been disclosed regarding Floyd Ganassi's passing.
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