CONCORD, N.C. – Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that longtime motorsports owner and visionary Felix Sabates will retire from the sport in 2020. Sabates, 74, founded SABCO Racing in 1987 and joined forces with current Owner Chip Ganassi in 2001, where it became known as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
The duo combined to field cars in NASCAR‘s top two divisions of competition and produced 43 total wins, including the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, and nine trips to the NASCAR Playoffs. Both cars driven by Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson won races in 2019 and made the post-season, with Larson advancing to the Round of 8 — the furthest a CGR car has ever advanced since the Playoff system began.
“I look back to the 1980s when I first started in this sport, and I can tell you that the landscape has really changed,” Sabates said. “It‘s been challenging at times, and tremendously rewarding watching the sport grow. When I started the NASCAR team, it was just a different time —a smaller regional sport. Then NASCAR grew and grew into a big business and continued to grow after my partnership with Chip. I‘m proud of what I‘ve done over the last 30 years. I have friendships that will last a lifetime. I hope that what I have tried to give back to the sport — whether it be bringing NASCAR to Mexico or being instrumental in starting the sports car program with Chip — will be equal to what the sport has taught and given me. I‘ve always said that I never wanted to be an old man walking around at the track; this is my way of honoring that commitment I made to myself years ago. I wish Chip and his teams all the success in the world and will be keeping a close eye on the sport from afar and maybe even make an appearance from time to time.”
In addition to NASCAR, Sabates and Ganassi fielded entries in IMSA, where they won seven championships, 64 races, including a record eight Rolex 24 At Daytona races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring.