Trackhouse Racing announced on Wednesday, June 30, a massive acquisition that will shake up NASCAR. The team co-owned by Justin Marks and Pitbull purchased Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operations. The team will take control of the two-car stable at the end of the 2021 season, setting up an intriguing offseason.
Marks and Chip Ganassi met with media members at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday to discuss the major change in the status quo. Marks confirmed during the session that he and Trackhouse will acquire all of Ganassi’s NASCAR equipment and the two charters, which include Kurt Busch‘s No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro and Ross Chastain’s No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro.
According to the Sports Business Journal, Ganassi explained during the media session that the charters were not initially for sale and that he remains invested in motorsports. He added that no one had previously offered to purchase his charters in 20 years of ownership. However, he explained that Marks came forward with “a great offer” that helped him make the move. Now Ganassi will remain focused on IndyCar, IMSA, and Extreme E.
Marks told media members during a Zoom session that he had “cold-called” Ganassi to discuss the future of his NASCAR team. However, he joked that he had to spend a few weeks working up the courage. The move worked out for Trackhouse’s owner, resulting in him having an even brighter future in NASCAR. Though Marks would not divulge how many millions of dollars he spent to acquire the charters due to confidentiality agreements.
Marks added during the media availability that Trackhouse Entertainment Group, the parent company of Trackhouse Racing, will remain in Nashville. However, the racing team will operate out of Chip Ganassi Racing’s facility during the 2022 season. A move to Nashville could be in the works, per NBC Sport’s Dustin Long, but that would not take place until 2023 at the earliest.
Daniel Suarez Will Partner With a New Driver in 2022
Marks told media members on June 9 that his goal was to expand operations in the 2022 season to coincide with the release of the Next Gen car. He wanted to add a second driver that would partner with Daniel Suarez, who remained in contention for a playoff spot.
There were several names floated at the time of the announcement, including Busch. The 2004 Cup Series champion will be a free agent at the end of the season, but he remains a hot prospect. 23XI Racing and Trackhouse both reportedly reached out to Busch to discuss his future in the Cup Series. Now the driver will be at the center of many more reports as he finishes out the season in the No. 1 CGR Chevrolet Camaro.
Marks responded to questions about Busch and his teammate Chastain during the Zoom session. Both will technically be free agents with the acquisition, but the team owner said that they will be the first two drivers they meet with to discuss the 2022 season. Though he acknowledged that others could be in the mix to join Suarez.
Trackhouse Could Field More Than Two Cars
Marks, Pitbull, and the Trackhouse team will enter the 2022 season with two cars in the stable. The co-owner confirmed as much during a Zoom session on Wednesday, June 30. However, the team’s future could involve even more drivers.
With the charters in his possession, Marks could actually have up to four drivers working on the roster. Suarez will take one seat while Busch or Chastain could take another. More free agents could join Trackhouse, provided Marks takes this route. However, he clarified that there is still some work to do before he makes any final decisions.
“I don’t want to get over my skis or anything like that,” Marks said during the Zoom press conference. “There are a lot of unknowns coming around this new car. We have to learn a lot about operationally what it’s going to take to field the Next Gen car successfully. I have a lot of ambition and a lot of passion for this company, but I’m not going to risk any momentum and so many good things ahead of us by trying to do too much too quickly.”
While even bigger moves could take place in 2022, Marks will remain focused on the current season. Suarez is within reach of the final playoff spot with seven regular-season races remaining. Though he will first have to leapfrog Busch in order to lock up that spot and move on to the next stage of the competition.