NASCAR: The lasting impact of an unexpected sale

Steve Phelps, Chip Ganassi, NASCAR (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Steve Phelps, Chip Ganassi, NASCAR (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

When Chip Ganassi sold his NASCAR team to Trackhouse Racing Team, change ensued throughout the sport, causing a ripple effect for all teams involved.

While Chip Ganassi Racing have continued their historic success in IndyCar, their time in NASCAR can also not be ignored. Chip Ganassi bought into the Felix Sabates-founded team, originally SABCO Racing, in 2001. While there were various name changes throughout his time in the sport, Ganassi’s name and vision stuck with the team from there on out.

With crown jewel victories in the 2010 Daytona 500 and 2010 Brickyard 400 with Jamie McMurray, Ganassi’s mantra of “I like winners” stuck. He also brought talent into the sport such as Juan Pablo Montoya and eventual Cup Series champion Kyle Larson.

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But Ganassi, in a shocking move, sold his NASCAR team and operations to Justin Marks and Trackhouse Racing Team following the 2021 season, leaving his two drivers, Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain, to find new homes for the 2022 season.

Trackhouse Racing Team kept Chastain, and he has already won twice this year. He earned his first career Cup Series win at Circuit of the Americas, and he added a second at Talladega Superspeedway. Busch, meanwhile, joined 23XI Racing and won this past Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway.

But the sale of Chip Ganassi Racing echoes further, leaving lasting effects in NASCAR.

With Chastain being able to stay semi-in-house with Trackhouse Racing Team, he has not only become a winner in the Cup Series, but he has found a stable ride in which he has become a threat to win each week.

The watermelon farmer from Avalon, Florida had endured a journeyman like career in the Xfinity Series before finally latching on in the #1 Chevrolet. So Ganassi’s sale, which came after Chastain’s one and only season with the team in the #42 Chevrolet, inadvertently helped Chastain’s career.

As for Busch, he continues to cement the reputation that wherever he goes, he makes a team better. With 23XI Racing, he has pulled off an impressive feat. In just his 13th start with Toyota, he became the first driver to ever win with all of the last four Cup Series manufacturers. He also got the #45 car back to victory lane for the first time in 58 years.

Barring any catastrophic ending to the regular season, he will deliver 23XI Racing their first playoff berth in their second season, just like Chastain with Trackhouse Racing Team.

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Chip Ganassi is one of the legendary owners in the history of motorsport, and his NASCAR tenure shouldn’t be discredited. But his sale to Trackhouse Racing Team helped paved the way for some awesome stories that might not have happened had the team stayed in the sport.