Having spent the last 26 years as a successful team owner, Chip Ganassi has been named a 2016 inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
As one of seven honorees in the Motorsport Hall’s 28th class, Ganassi has been named under the Open Wheel category given his mountain of success in Indy car competition, notably as a team owner.
Following a short driving career that included earning Rookie of the Year honors at the 1982 running of the Indianapolis 500, Ganassi began his true venture in fielding a one-car effort in CART competition in 1990.
In the two and a half decades since, Ganassi’s former one-car CART program has become one of the most successful programs in motorsports, amassing 100 open-wheel victories by the end of 2015, with Scott Dixon earning the 100th at the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma to grant Ganassi his 11th Indy car championship.
Away from open-wheel racing, Ganassi’s expansion into NASCAR, sports car and rallycross competition has brought the team a Daytona 500 victory as well as six Rolex 24 at Daytona wins and seven sports car titles.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native admitted he’d “never been humbled like this before” as he was introduced at a news conference in Daytona.
“I always liked motorsports and I always appreciated the different forms of it,” Ganassi said.
“I started out in go-karts and snowmobiles and dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles. So I always enjoyed different kinds of motorsports and I always appreciated the winners and champions in all those different forms.
“Just the fact that they’re on a motorcycle versus an Indy car or a snowmobile instead of a Cup car, they’re still champions and the competition is just as fierce at every level. That’s why I’ve always enjoyed the different forms of the sport.”
Ganassi offered all the credit of his induction to the many people he has worked with over the years.
“No team owner, no team representative can do it on their own,” he said. “It takes a team and I’ve been lucky to work with some great people over the years.”
The Motorsports Hall, featuring a wide array of racing greats across motorcycles, airplanes, sports cars, off road, open-wheel, stock cars and more, will be located on the grounds of the Daytona International Speedway following a move from Detroit.
Ganassi’s presence in the now-named IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has been increased for 2016 and beyond as the team gets set for its first season of GT Le Mans class competition with the new Ford GT, which will also contest the full FIA World Endurance Championship season in GTE-Pro.
Chip Ganassi Racing also enters 2016 as the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, with three cars confirmed for the upcoming season which will kick off on the streets of St. Petersburg on the weekend of March 11-13.