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Peers applaud Chip Ganassi’s induction into Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

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Chip Ganassi has been one of the most successful owners in motorsports over the last three decades.

Wednesday night, Ganassi got his due, as he was inducted into The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, which has relocated from Michigan and re-opens in a permanent brand new facility this Sunday just outside of Daytona International Speedway.

Ganassi was inducted during the 28th annual MSHFA Induction Ceremony at The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Also inducted were NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, NHRA announcer Dave McClelland and racer and broadcaster Sam Posey, as well as posthumous inductees AMA dirt-track motorcycle racer Everett Brashear, land-speed racer Gary Gabelich and 1955 Indianapolis 500 winner Bob Sweikert.

Here’s some highlights of Ganassi’s racing career from a team media release:

* Ganassi is the only car owner in history to have won the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, the Brickyard 400 in addition to adding the 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier this month.

* Overall, his teams have won 18 championships and 175 races. His open-wheel teams have amassed 11 championships and more than 100 victories, including five in the Indianapolis 500. His NASCAR teams have 17 victories including wins in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.

* In addition to his recent win at Le Mans, his sports car teams have a record six Rolex 24 At Daytona victories to complement their seven WeatherTech Sports Car Series championships.

A number of Ganassi’s peers offered their congratulations upon his induction into the Hall:

Mario Andretti: “I’ve known Chip since he was driving Formula Fords in the early 80s. As he transitioned to team ownership, the motorsports world watched him reach the pinnacle of the sport by winning in all the major categories that he entered. In my eyes, that makes him an icon. His contributions to our sport are immense. He’s a tremendous competitor and also a great friend.”

Scott Dixon: “I love Chip’s competitive nature and I’m proud to have driven for the same team basically my entire career. This honor is well deserved and I hope we get to share many more trips to victory lane together in the future.”

AJ Foyt: “Chip’s been a lot better owner than he was a driver (said with a laugh). Seriously though, he’s been good for racing and a strong supporter of the sport. His teams have won the major races in INDYCAR and NASCAR so I think he deserves to be in (the Hall).”

Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO: “Chip Ganassi has had a positive impact on our sport for decades, as both a driver and owner, and on behalf of the entire NASCAR family we would like to congratulate him on being inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame.”

Jim France, IMSA and International Speedway Corporation Chairman – “It’s appropriate that the first Motorsports Hall of Fame of America induction ceremony in Daytona Beach includes Chip Ganassi. … It’s clear that Chip has plenty of credentials to be called a Hall of Famer. Congratulations, Chip, on a fantastic career so far and here’s to many more years of success.”

Dario Franchitti: “It’s great to see Chip being honored. It’s well deserved. His accomplishments are really second to none. Winning the Daytona 500, Indy 500, Rolex 24, Sebring, Brickyard and now Le Mans, is simply incredible. As a driver, you want to drive for Chip because he gives the team everything it needs to do the job, and expects results. It’s been an absolute pleasure to drive for him.”

Jeff Gordon: “Chip is a great businessman and he is the definition of a racer. It doesn’t matter what series, whether it’s the Indianapolis 500 or the Brickyard 400, whether it’s the Daytona 500 or the 24 Hours of Daytona, or Le Mans, Chip’s teams will be battling for the win. It takes a great leader to accomplish the impressive victory resume he has. Chip is a very deserving honoree.”

Tony Kanaan: “You can’t think of Indy car racing without Chip’s name and his organization coming to mind. He has been a pioneer for the whole world of motorsports and he has turned his organization into such a powerhouse across so many different series. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Chip’s team grow into what it is today over the years and it’s nothing short of impressive. It’s really been an honor to have the opportunity to drive for Chip and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of being inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame.”

Jamie McMurray: “I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity in my career to work with such a successful team owner. When you look at Chip’s accomplishments over his career it is just amazing. I have had the chance to win some huge races with Chip and I am extremely proud to not only have him as my boss, but to call him my friend. It is fitting for Chip to be recognized with this honor less than two weeks after adding another iconic victory to his already impressive resume, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Roger Penske: “From INDYCAR to NASCAR to Sports Car competition, Chip Ganassi Racing has really raised the bar in all of those disciplines and the consistent performance of their teams has been very impressive over the years. We know that drive to succeed starts at the top with Chip. I am proud to call him a friend and a competitor and he is very deserving of this special honor.”

Don Prudhomme, drag racing legend: “When you are a friend of Chip’s, he takes you on the racing journey with him – whether it is the Indy 500, Le Mans or a NASCAR event. Despite all that he is involved in, he is never too busy to answer his phone when you call and when he says ‘let’s go to dinner’ you are in for a great evening.”

Felix Sabates: “It has been a great partnership for 16 years – a Cuban NASCAR owner and an open wheel young man from Pittsburgh, what were the odds we would still be together and enjoying a great partnership? Besides I will be able to tell my great grandkids that grandpa’s teams won the Daytona 500, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and as a bonus the Brickyard 400, Thanks, Chip.”

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Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”