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When Justin Marks announced the formation of the Trackhouse Racing Team in October of 2020, he promised to be a disruptive and courageous new force in NASCAR. That vision continued on Wednesday with the announcement that the Trackhouse Entertainment Group and Trackhouse Racing will expand its NASCAR Cup Series team by acquiring Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operation.
Marks, along with Trackhouse team president Ty Norris and Chip Ganassi Racing CEO Chip Ganassi, revealed the move at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on a live stream on NASCAR.com. Trackhouse Racing will acquire all NASCAR equipment and the two charters from CGR, and the changes will go into effect after the 2021 Cup Series season.
“This process took several weeks and I want to thank Chip for being so open and candid with me every step of the journey,” Marks said. “Chip has built an iconic motorsports empire and the Ganassi brand is globally recognized as a winner in the auto racing industry.”
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Trackhouse Racing currently has one Cup Series team with 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suarez as the driver of the No. 99 Chevrolet. It was revealed Wednesday that Suarez will continue with Trackhouse in 2022 with a second driver to be named later. The Monterrey, Mexico, native has three top-10 finishes this season and is ranked 18th in the driver standings. His most recent top 10 was a seventh-place run in NASCAR‘s return to Nashville Superspeedway.
“This is a huge deal,” Suarez said in an appearance on FS1’s NASCAR Race Hub, where he also revealed he did not know about Trackhouse’s deal with Ganassi until yesterday. “It’s crazy how fast Trackhouse Racing is growing.” He also indicated that he expects to play some part in helping the team select his future teammate.
Suarez gave Trackhouse its first top-five finish at the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race as NASCAR utilized the surface at the famed short track. This came on the heels of Trackhouse‘s debut in the Daytona 500 and after a busy offseason that included the naming of entertainment superstar Pitbull as a co-owner of the team.
Bringing on Pitbull (Armando Perez) was a sign that the team wanted to do things differently and that it wanted to appeal to a broader NASCAR audience. The organization stated that Marks and Pitbull intended to collaborate with Trackhouse‘s philanthropic efforts, which include NASCAR-themed STEM education initiatives within inner-city charter schools.
Chip Ganassi Racing has two drivers in the Cup Series in 2021, 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 to the good on 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.”
CGR also has teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IndyCar and Extreme E, and those teams will continue to operate out of Ganassi’s Indianapolis location. The NASCAR operation was established in 1989 by Felix Sabates under the name SABCO Racing. 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 name until 2014 when the Earnhardt name was dropped.
Marks said the new team will operate out of Ganassi’s current race shop in 2022.