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NASCAR's Trackhouse Racing expected to absorb many former Ganassi employees

Alex Andrejev, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR’s Trackhouse Racing team expects a majority of its operation next season to be made up of former Chip Ganassi Racing employees.

Team owner Justin Marks told The Charlotte Observer on Thursday that Trackhouse will employ more than 100 people as it expands from fielding one to two Cup Series cars in 2022.

CGR employs 120-150 people for its NASCAR operations, according to an estimate provided by the team last month, but the shop will close at the end of the current season as Trackhouse acquires its NASCAR assets, including Ganassi’s two Cup charters.

Trackhouse did not provide an exact figure for the number of CGR employees it will absorb, but indicated that its future makeup would consist of both current Trackhouse and CGR employees. Currently, there are only a handful of individuals working for Trackhouse since most of its staff is contracted through Richard Childress Racing.

Marks noted that any net difference in staff sizes between CGR and Trackhouse in the future is a likely result of the industry’s shift to the Next Gen car, which is expected to shrink staffing across teams.

“I think the change that you’ll see at Trackhouse is consistent with what every other team is going through,” Marks said. “But we’re trying to win races and to win races you need lots of good people.”

Trackhouse fields the No. 99 Chevrolet driven by Daniel Suárez. International music icon Pitbull is a co-owner of the team that was founded with a mission to increase opportunities for minority groups in the STEM field while growing its NASCAR presence. Suárez has one top five and three top-10 finishes this season.

CGR driver Ross Chastain will join Trackhouse for next year as the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet, with Marks indicating that Trackhouse would aim to minimally disrupt the composition of the No. 42 team.

 

Trackhouse will move at the end of the season from Richard Childress Racing’s campus in Welcome, N.C., to CGR’s 22-acre campus near the Concord-Padgett Regional Airport, the Observer previously reported. Hendrick Automotive Group purchased that property for $10.2 million in early September, and Trackhouse is expected to transition there under a landlord-lessee relationship with Hendrick.

While Marks is eyeing an eventual move Nashville, Tenn., for the team’s NASCAR operations, he pumped the brakes on an immediate transition.

“I definitely anticipate a presence in some form or another of our race team in Nashville,” Marks said. “But the No. 1 priority for the people working on these cars for our shop floor and for our competition operations is that we don’t disrupt that.”

Although he sees the city as a viable future location given Trackhouse Entertainment Group’s business interests in the area and his involvement as an investor in IndyCar’s Music City Grand Prix, he indicated that a move as early as 2023 is possible, but ambitious.

“If moving that somewhere out of state is a disruption to that, then we’re not gonna do that,” Marks continued. “I can’t say where we’re gonna be five years from now, 10 years from now, but for the foreseeable future ... it’s just so much change coming that adding something as monumental as a geographical move to the mix is just too much to throw in the pot for one time.”

The team is focused on growing its staff and off-track mission while working toward competitive results. Trackhouse was awarded the “Team Award” by NASCAR on Thursday for its efforts in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across the sport as part of the annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards.

Trackhouse has worked closely with Suárez, Pitbull (whose full name is Armando Christian Pérez) and youth education non-profit SLAM! to connect with the Hispanic community. The team recently announced it would donate a No. 99 Chevrolet paint scheme and marketing elements on Pitbull’s 2022 concert tour to SLAM! in order to generate funds for students’ college scholarships.

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