DC Solar

DC Solar bankruptcy auction includes Kyle Larson’s Daytona-winning car

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A significant piece of one of Kyle Larson‘s biggest NASCAR achievements could soon be yours as a result of the misfortune of a former Chip Ganassi Racing sponsor.

On Oct. 1 you can bid on No. 42 Chevrolet that Larson drove to a win in the July 2018 Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

Source: Global Partners

That car was sponsored by DC Solar, the company whose sponsorship of Ganassi effectively ended in the aftermath of Dec. 18 raids by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service on the company’s headquarters and the home of its CEO, Jeff Carpoff.

The online auction, put on by Global Partners, is a result of an order by the United Stated Bankruptcy Court in Nevada, which has been handling DC Solar’s bankruptcy, which was filed in February.

Larson’s car, which is still covered in Victory Lane confetti but lacks a motor or transmission, is fortunate to be called a race-winning car.

Larson was declared the winner of the race only because Justin Haley‘s would-be winning pass coming to checkered flag caused his car to go below the yellow lines on the bottom of the track, which is an illegal move on superspeedways.

Also part of the auction is a complete No. 48 Brennan Poole DC Solar Chevrolet Xfinity car. The auction’s website notes it appears the car has never been raced.

DC Solar files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in wake of raids

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DC Solar’s chapter 11 bankruptcy filing provides details regarding the Dec. 18 raid on its headquarters and CEO’s home by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.

The filing includes a declaration by Seth Freeman, the proposed Chief Restructuring Officer for DC Solar, a former sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Freeman said the FBI and IRS raids seized “funds from all bank accounts associated with the DC Solar businesses” and “hundreds of items essential” for DC Solar to continue operating. That included computer servers, computers, and hard copy files containing corporate books and records, investment agreements, lease agreements, vendor agreements, communications with investors and customers and invoices for insurance and utility providers.

Freeman also said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission “issued subpoenas to (DC Solar) Solutions, (DC Solar) Distribution, and certain other parties.”

The company was forced to layoff approximately 100 employees as a result of the seizures.

Chip Ganaasi Racing announced it was shutting down its Xfinity Series program last month due to a lack of sponsorship from DC Solar.

Court filings show DC Solar still owes CGR $4.3 million.

Other NASCAR entities it owes money to:

International Speedway Corp. – $1,025,000

Kansas Speedway – $750,000

ISM Raceway – $750,000

Richmond Raceway – $750,000

Talladega Superspeedway – $750,000

Freeman said the company is unaware of the “genesis of the government seizure,” but that DC Solar’s counsel had been told by the Department of Justice that the seizures related to alleged “investment fraud” and that the “government had seized the assets in order to prevent them from being dissipated and to compensate any victims of the alleged fraud.”

Freeman also said the IRS “initiated proceedings in 2017 challenging certain … practices” involving the mobile solar power generators DC Solar produces.

The company has filed two bankruptcy cases – for DC Solar Solutions and DC Solar Distributions – in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada. The company is headquartered in Benecia, California.

Freeman said DC Solar is “finalizing debtor-in-possession financing” and began the bankruptcy cases “in order to reopen its business operations.”

In order to do that, Jeff Carpoff and his wife Paulette have agreed to step away from day-to-day management of the company and to use the services of Freeman and a professional restructuring advisor to lead DC Solar through the restructuring.

The bankruptcy filings also includes creditors DC Solar owes money, including many NASCAR entities.

 

‘How can we be upset?’: Ross Chastain discusses losing Ganassi ride, hopeful future

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Ross Chastain received word of the events “out west,” he knew the loss of his full-time Xfinity Series ride with Chip Ganassi Racing was “inevitable.”

The events were the Dec. 18 dual raids by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in California on the headquarters of DC Solar, Ganassi’s primary Xfinity sponsor, and the home of the company’s CEO, Jeff Carpoff.

Seventeen days later, Ganassi made it official. The biggest opportunity of Chastain’s NASCAR career was gone roughly two months after it had been announced because of a lack of sponsorship.

Chastain, who turned 26 in December, made his first public appearance in a month on Friday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. There, he announced plans to compete part time for Niece Motorsports in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, beginning with the season opener at Daytona.

“Early on there was a couple of dark days following everything that went down. I’m not going to shy away from it,” Chastain told reporters before later clarifying himself. “It wasn’t dark, that’s probably going to come across wrong when you write it down now that I think about that. I don’t want people to get the wrong impression, but it was a big deal.

“(The Carpoffs) did a lot for me. They changed my life. I’ll forever be thankful for them and Chip (Ganassi) and Felix (Sabates) … and everybody involved with CGR and all the people in the office, they still stand behind me. I’m still tied to them. I’m still working for them.”

Chastain said he hasn’t been in contact with the Carpoffs since the FBI raids.

“Chip and (Chief Operating Officer) Doug Duchardt, they tried everything they could to keep that deal going,” Chastain said. “Talked to Chip back and forth throughout the process … it was going to affect so many people and so many mechanics and crew guys on that, including me.

“He knew that, and it affected him. He was the ultimate loser here in Charlotte for it. Nobody wanted it to happen, man. We think we know what we could accomplish or what we were going to shoot for and the cards that were laying out on the table of what we could do in 2019, but it’s just not how it was intended to happen.”

While he won’t be driving the No. 42 for CGR in 2019, he’s still under contract with the team and said Ganassi himself calls “every now and then to make sure I’m doing OK.”

So what did Chastain do during a holiday season where his career was upended through no fault of his own?

He went home.

Chastain spent Christmas and New Years clearing his head on his family’s watermelon farm in Alva, Florida.

“Spent a lot of time at the farm on a tractor,” Chastain said. “Leaving my phone in the truck. Get on the tractor and a couple of days of that will make you appreciate the life I do get to live, and I knew I wasn’t done racing. I was just going to change my schedule for this year. Family was really good.  It kind of made us all even closer.”

The time was also spent reflecting on everything that has transpired in the last half-year.

“If you would have told me six months ago, right, that I was going to drive for Chip Ganassi, I was going to win a race (at Las Vegas), I was going to finish second in a race (at Richmond) and I was going to crash – for the win – in a race (at Darlington) with a very high-profile driver (Kevin Harvick) and he was going to say a bunch of bad things about me and I was going to come back the next race in that car and win? I would have told you you were crazy. …

“We talked through all that and realized ‘Man, what we would have given six months ago to have all this happen,'” Chastain said. “‘How can we be upset?'”

While Chastain had been silent, including on social media, since the day before the raids, other NASCAR drivers have been in touch with him. That includes Elliott Sadler, who tweeted about Chastain on Jan. 7 after talking with him.

“Elliott has probably been the biggest one through all this,” Chastain said. “I don’t get along with many drivers. Me and him connect on a lot of things. … He was just like, ‘Yeah, it’s terrible, but you’re going to get through it. You have a future,’ and that’s what he kept saying.

“He said he’s been here long enough to see it. It’s going to work out. You’ve just got to believe. I was already back on track, digging on this year when I talked to Elliott, and he sent that tweet out. His biggest thing was ‘Just believe. Know it’s going to work out. I’ve seen this before. Nobody could see this coming. You didn’t do anything wrong.’ It’s head down and dig.

“He’s been really instrumental in staying on me to make sure I’m doing that.”

When it comes to who Chastain will dig deep for in races this year, Chastain said there are restrictions Ganassi has on whom he can compete for that are still being worked out.

His deal with Niece Motorsports, who he made three starts for last year, was not a result of the Ganassi closure and had been in the works for months. He’ll share the No. 45 Chevrolet with Reid Wilson.

In addition to his truck ride, Chastain plans to compete full time in Cup with Premium Motorsports in the No. 15 Chevrolet while declaring for points in the Xfinity Series.

That way he can compete in any Xfinity and Truck races in the playoffs, when all Cup drivers are banned from competition in those series.

Chastain did not reveal who he has “handshakes galore” with in the Xfinity Series, but he plans to compete in all three points races at Daytona in February. He does anticipate racing at some point this season with JD Motorsports, the Xfinity team he raced full time for from 2015-2017 and all but three races in 2018.

“However many races we end up at, we’ll be great,” Chastain said. “I’m getting to run, getting paid to drive in NASCAR and that was my dream growing up.”

Despite having multiple opportunities to race this season, the question was raised whether last year’s feel-good story has been set back in a way that could harm his hopes of marketing himself for a top-tier ride after 2019.

“People are going to think what they want to think if it set me back or not,” Chastain said. “We’re writing our own story for how this is going to work out.”

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Chip Ganassi Racing shuts down No. 42 Xfinity team

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Citing a lack of sponsorship, Chip Ganassi Racing has shut down its No. 42 Xfinity Series team. The move leaves Ross Chastain without a ride in that series.

Chastain was to have driven the car this season. DC Solar was to have sponsored the car, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted raids last month on the home of DC Solar CEO Jeff Carpoff in Martinez, California, and DC Solar’s headquarters in Benicia, California.

Without funding from DC Solar, Ganassi cut the team.

“Due to a lack of sponsorship funding we will cease operation of the No. 42 Xfinity team in 2019,” car owner Chip Ganassi said in a statement Friday. “This was a difficult decision for me to make and it comes with much anguish as this is a championship caliber team (having won six races and finished second in the owners championship) and more importantly because it affects a number of good people’s livelihoods. Running a car without proper funding is difficult to do.”

Chastain declined comment to NBC Sports.

Chip Ganassi Racing is the second organization to announce this week cuts to its Xfinity program. Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark announced this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the organization will not field a car in the Xfinity Series this season. Roush Fenway Racing is the winningest organization in that series.

The No. 42 car finished second in the car owner points in the Xfinity Series last season. That was the only car the organization ran in that series. The car had five drivers last season – John Hunter Nemechek (18 races, won one), Kyle Larson (six races, won four), Chastain (three races, won one), Jamie McMurray (three races) and Justin Marks (three races).

Chip Ganassi Racing states that the move will not impact its Cup program with Kurt Busch (in No. 1 car) and Kyle Larson (in the No. 42 car).

FBI conducts raid of DC Solar’s headquarters, CEO’s home

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted dual raids Tuesday on the home of DC Solar CEO Jeff Carpoff in Martinez, California, and DC Solar’s headquarters in Benicia, California, according to reports by the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News and the Martinez Gazette.

DC Solar is a sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing in the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series. The company was the primary sponsor for Kyle Larson‘s No. 42 Chevrolet in 13 Cup races last year and for three races on Jamie McMurray‘s No. 1 Chevy. It sponsored 10 Xfinity races with Ganassi, but it was announced last month as the sponsor of Ross Chastain’s full-time move to Xfinity in 2019.

It sponsored Xfinity Series races at ISM Raceway on March 10 and at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 15. The company also sponsors the new infield “FanGrounds” at Richmond Raceway.

According to the Mercury News, witnesses saw FBI agents tow cars from the Carpoff’s home, and a source told the outlet that computers, cell phones and receipts were taken from the residence.

Both outlets reported the raid on the Carpoff’s home included roughly 20 agents.

The Carpoff’s lawyer is Armando Gomez, a member of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

According to the firm’s website, Gomez “concentrates his practice on a broad range of tax controversy matters, as well as transactional and planning situations.”

Gomez provided the following statement:

“The Carpoff family was surprised and disappointed with the actions taken by the government earlier this week, which appear to relate to an ongoing tax dispute. They are long-time residents and supporters of the Martinez community who believe in our country and all that it stands for. The Carpoffs are grateful for the support of their friends and family, and have trust in the system to resolve this matter in a fair and just manner at the earliest opportunity so that they can continue to grow their business, which brings clean, reliable, renewable power to first responders and others whenever and wherever needed. Until that time, they will have no further comment on this matter.”

Chip Ganassi Racing issued the following statement:

“Although we have received little in the way of facts, we are aware of the situation with DC Solar and are monitoring it closely.”

NASCAR declined to comment.