First-year NASCAR team Trackhouse Racing created headlines on Wednesday, June 30, by announcing the purchase of Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operations and its charters. Hours later, Trackhouse driver Daniel Suarez responded and explained why this move is a “huge deal” for the sport.
Suarez appeared on NASCAR Race Hub on June 30 to respond to the acquisition that will shake up the 2022 Cup Series season. He revealed that he first heard about the sale on Tuesday, June 29, and said that he still finds it “hard to believe” that the team is already expanding. He only talked about joining the first-year NASCAR team less than one year ago. Now he will soon have a teammate.
“This is a huge deal,” Suarez said during his appearance on Race Hub. “Honestly, just watching this B-roll, I got goosebumps. It’s a huge deal. I’m honestly very happy for Trackhouse Racing, for [team owner] Justin Marks, [team president] Ty Norris — because he worked so hard on this — and everyone involved.”
Another Driver Responded to the Massive Purchase
Suarez was not the only NASCAR driver reacting to the surprising purchase on June 30. Kurt Busch, who currently drives the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing, provided his own thoughts on the matter. Though he primarily focused on the remaining races in the regular season.
Busch said that his goal is to get the No. 1 back in the playoffs one year after making it based on points. He currently holds on to the final spot above the cutoff line after a strong weekend at Pocono Raceway, but he only has a three-point advantage. Busch will have to continue fighting for top-five finishes and wins in order to achieve his goal.
Once the season comes to an end, Busch will become a free agent. He was set to test the waters prior to the sale of Chip Ganassi Racing and reportedly had options in Trackhouse Racing and 23XI Racing. Now his upcoming foray into free agency will include sitting down with the new owners.
Trackhouse Racing Highlights a Youth Movement in NASCAR
With the news that Trackhouse had acquired Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operations, the average age of owners decreased. The 63-year-old Ganassi will turn his attention to IndyCar and his other motorsports endeavors while the 40-year-old co-owners of Trackhouse — Marks and Pitbull — will pursue a Cup Series championship together.
The acquisition marks a youth movement in stock car racing, particularly, the Cup Series. There are multiple owners making moves that will define the top series in NASCAR for decades to come. Kaulig Racing owner Matt Kaulig is going Cup racing with driver Justin Haley while 2012 champion Brad Keselowski is reportedly joining Roush Fenway Racing in a driver-owner role. Similarly, 40-year-old Denny Hamlin partnered with NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan to form 23XI Racing prior to the 2020 season.
As these new owners plan for their Cup Series futures, the old guard begins to plan for a change. While Ganassi will remain in motorsports, he will leave NASCAR after 20 years at the helm of a successful team. Similarly, 71-year-old Rick Hendrick recently brought Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon back to Hendrick Motorsports to serve as vice-chairman while grooming him to be the next owner.
“There’s a lot of new blood in NASCAR, as you’ve heard or read of recent, people like Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, the Spire people, Kaulig Racing, a lot of new blood, and they all seem to be bringing a new perspective, and more importantly a new vision,” Ganassi said during the June 30 press conference, per Jayski. “The sport, I think, needs people with vision, and today NASCAR continues to build on its successes and by most accounts continues to grow.”
More moves will potentially take place in the coming years considering the age of other owners. Jack Roush (Roush Fenway Racing) is 79 while Richard Petty (Richard Petty Motorsports) is 83. Roger Penske (Team Penske) is 84 while Joe Gibbs (Joe Gibbs Racing) is 80. None of these owners are openly planning on walking away from their respective teams, but the situation could ultimately change in the next few years.