Justin Marks Reveals New Details About Chip Ganassi Racing Purchase

Justin Marks

Getty Justin Marks could provide an opportunity for Helio Castroneves.

Trackhouse Racing announced on June 30 the purchase of Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operations and its two charters. Owner Justin Marks said at the time that he called Chip Ganassi out of the blue to discuss a sale, but he has now provided even more information about this stunning transaction.

Marks appeared on the December 6 episode of “I AM ATHLETE – NASCAR” to discuss several topics with Brandon Marshall, Channing Crowder, and Drive for Diversity’s Dion “Rocko” Williams. He explained during the sitdown that everyone in need of a Cup Series charter focused on the few teams rumored to be willing to sell. He took a different approach that paid immense dividends.

JUSTIN MARKS: NASCAR IS A SPORT THAT CAN BE FOR EVERYBODY | I AM NASCAR with BRANDON MARSHALLWATCH MORE → youtube.com/watch?v=70YdJ… I AM NASCAR | SEASON 2: EPISODE 8 Justin Marks joins Brandon Marshall, Channing Crowder and Dion “Rocko” Williams in episode 8 of I Am NASCAR. Justin takes us inside his decision to transition from being a professional racing driver to becoming an entrepreneur and owner of the NASCAR Cup Series…2021-12-06T17:00:11Z

“To secure our future in the sport, the goal was to find a way to own one of these charters,” Marks said during the episode. “It’s a way to get into the sport, have some longevity, have an asset that’s worth something. With all of these charters, there was just a game happening at the back, and there were these narratives being planted in place, right, to drive the cost of these things up.

“When the addressable market was really, really small, there wasn’t enough buyers out there to have the market dictate what one costs. It’s just deal by deal. You find the guy who’s willing to pay what you want, and that’s the deal.

“Everybody was focused on these couple of charters, and I took a step back and said, ‘there’s something else here on the board that nobody’s seeing. There’s another deal here to be done in this sport that nobody’s paying attention to.'”

Marks Examined the List of Cup Series Owners

Once Marks began thinking about the other avenue to acquire a charter, he looked at the list of Cup Series owners with the mindset that one of them wanted to get out of the sport. He continued to go back to Ganassi, with whom he had an existing relationship.

“I saw the writing on the wall a little bit that this is a guy who is ready to put a period on the end of the sentence of his NASCAR career,” Marks explained to the “I AM ATHLETE – NASCAR” hosts.

While he settled on Ganassi as a potential seller, he didn’t present this offer immediately. Marks actually waited multiple weeks before finally calling Ganassi. He asked if there was a 1% chance that the longtime owner would entertain a conversation about selling his team, and he received an indirect answer within the first few minutes.

According to Marks, Ganassi began talking about how “when a man gets to my age,” he starts thinking about the future and whether he wants to travel to the racetrack every weekend. Once Marks heard this sentence, he knew that he was going to do the deal.

The Trackhouse Racing owner made the call one day and then hopped on a plane to Pittsburgh the very next day. He and Ganassi sat down in an office and worked out the deal that would significantly shake up the landscape of the Cup Series.

Marks Also Provided Further Details About Hiring Ross Chastain

Ross Chastain

GettyRoss Chastain prepares for a Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.

The move to examine the entire ownership landscape and call Ganassi is not the only way that Marks zigged when other owners zagged. He also used a different approach when deciding which drivers to hire for his team.

As Marks explained, other teams looked at potential additions by examining the drivers with a history of success. Kurt Busch, the 2004 Cup Series champion, was one of the names that he listed. His approach was to look more at the younger drivers that were quietly rising up the ranks on Friday and Saturday.

Marks said that Chastain landed a part-time opportunity and made major strides with each start. He did not make excuses about needing a better car or more time; he just got in the car and put in work. Marks lauded this approach and compared the situation to Rick Hendrick hiring Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson when they were relatively unknown.

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