CHAMPCAR/CART: Felix Sabates/ Chip Ganassi near deal

Sabates, Ganassi targeting a deal By Brett Borden CONCORD, N.C. (May 20, 2000) NASCAR Winston Cup Series team owner Felix Sabates says its time to concentrate on building yachts for a while. Sabates, owner of the No. 40 Coors Light and No. 42...

Sabates, Ganassi targeting a deal
By Brett Borden

CONCORD, N.C. (May 20, 2000) NASCAR Winston Cup Series team owner Felix Sabates says its time to concentrate on building yachts for a while.

Sabates, owner of the No. 40 Coors Light and No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolets, confirmed the rumor he is in negotiations to sell the majority of Team SABCO to Chip Ganassi, who has had a successful career as a car owner in CART open-wheel racing. Sabates will concentrate on a yacht-building business in New Orleans.

"Chip wanted to look at some race shops and he called me about coming down here to look at (Team) SABCO," Sabates said. "We went back to my office and he asked if I would consider doing something with him. I really didn't think much about it. I had a group from Virginia that had been wanting to buy my teams and I told them they weren't for sale. But I started thinking, 'Here's a guy who has won the last four (CART) championships in a row. A guy that lives and sleeps for racing and is able to put good people together.' So, we started talking."

And now they are close to sealing the deal.

The accountants are working out the deals, which apparently will have Sabates retaining around 20 percent of the team. The teams will be run by Sabates the remainder of the season, but Ganassi will start putting his own people in place for the transition into next season.

"Chip asked me if there were any sacred cows," Sabates said. "I told him there were no sacred cows. My role will be what it is primarily now -- working on the PR side and with the sponsors. But I won't have a darned thing to do with the back of that shop. I don't want to. I'm sick of it."

Sabates has had varying degrees of success as an owner in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. He has won seven races since his debut with driver Robbie Moroso in 1988. Kyle Petty won six of those for Sabates, with Joe Nemechek adding the seventh last season.

"The first person I called was Bill France and the second person I called was Mike Helton," Sabates said. "And Bill has been telling me now for three years ? he's said, 'Felix, you need to do something with somebody who knows something about racing.' He's said, 'The way you've been running it is with your heart, and you can't, you've got to have a racer in there.'"

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty , Chip Ganassi , Mike Helton , Felix Sabates