‘One of the greatest car owners ever’: NASCAR drivers react to Chip Ganassi’s exit

NASCAR Chip Ganassi exit
James Gilbert/Getty Images

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – The reaction to the impending exit from NASCAR by Chip Ganassi hit home for Kyle Larson, who no longer drives for the team owner but still credits him for his big break.

“I was blown away by it,” said Larson, who tweeted a heartfelt tribute to Ganassi. “But I kind of thought about all the cool memories I’ve had with Chip — not only at the racetrack but away. All the stuff I’ve learned from him. All the funny dad jokes he has. He’s meant a lot to my career. I wouldn’t be here today without Chip.”

Ganassi announced the sale of his two-car team to Trackhouse Racing after the 2021 season, his 21st in a Cup career that has marked a diverse roster of drivers, including Larson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti. Ganassi will remain a team owner in the Extreme E, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and NTT IndyCar Series (where he has won 13 of his 18 championships along with four Indy 500s).

Larson was a rising dirt racing star a decade ago when Ganassi took a chance on signing him.

Larson met with virtually every other major team in NASCAR, and all passed because of his lack of sponsorship. He built a strong relationship with Ganassi, who allowed Larson to continue racing sprint cars while in Cup (which many other car owners wouldn’t permit).

Noting that Ganassi also invested in the late Bryan Clauson, Larson said Ganassi’s “level of being able to find talent and take a shot on talented kids when other huge organizations wouldn’t” is perhaps his greatest legacy as a team owner.

“I was always very loyal to him because of the opportunity he took on me when every one of these race teams in this garage and the truck series didn’t give me a shot,” said Larson, who joined Hendrick Motorsports this season after being fired by last year Ganassi during his seventh season with the team because of his suspension by NASCAR for a racial slur. “He was the only guy. So I was extremely loyal to him because of that. I’m just a very loyal person. Same thing goes for Rick (Hendrick) now. I’ll be loyal to him forever. Same as with Chip then.

AUTO: MAR 08 NASCAR Cup Series - FanShield 500
Team owner Chip Ganassi and Kyle Larson talk on the starting grid at Phoenix Raceway before Larson’s final race with the team March 8, 2020 (Lyle Setter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

“I’m forever grateful for him, and obviously wish things would have worked out better for me last year and with their race team. But yeah, he’s meant a lot to me, and I’m glad he’s not leaving racing. He’s still going to make a huge impact on motorsports. He’s one of the greatest car owners there’s ever been in motorsports, and I’m just thankful I got to race for him. I just think he likes winning, and that shows, he’s always looked out for talent more than financial backing.”

Kurt Busch, who joined Ganassi’s No. 1 Chevrolet in 2019 and could stay with the new team next year, said he was drawn by Ganassi’s varied racing background.

“He’s a winner everywhere he goes and pushes hard,” Busch said. “I think that’s what his legacy is going to be.

“He has a bigger heart than I expected. He’s just a guy who will call you late at night or early in the morning and give you one of those father or uncle-type speeches. It’s been a good relationship and still will be afterward.”

Though he never drove for Ganassi, Denny Hamlin swapped tales of the team owner with Larson and Steve Lauletta (a former Chip Ganassi Racing president who now has an executive role with Hamlin’s 23XI Racing) while they flew together Friday to Road America.

“A little sad to see Chip go,” Hamlin said.  I really loved Chip and what he’s about. We gain and we lose with that deal. Chip is a great guy, fun guy and loves racing. Obviously he’s still going to be racing in some capacity. Definitely will miss him in the NASCAR world.”

NASCAR weekend schedule at World Wide Technology Raceway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.