CHAMPCAR/CART: Chip Ganassi Inducted to Hall of Fame

CHIP GANASSI INDUCTED INTO NATIONAL ITALIAN AMERICAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME Chip Ganassi, owner of the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team, was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (NIASHF) in Chicago on Saturday, Sept.

CHIP GANASSI INDUCTED INTO NATIONAL ITALIAN AMERICAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME

Chip Ganassi, owner of the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team, was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (NIASHF) in Chicago on Saturday, Sept. 26. The other 1998 inductees were Tony LaRussa, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Gary Beban, UCLA's 1967 Heisman Trophy winner.

The NIASHF was founded in 1977 as a non-profit organization to celebrate the contributions of Italian Americans to the world of sports and to encourage the dreams of young athletes. Members of the Hall include some of the most gifted and influential athletes in history, including Rocky Marciano, Vince Lombardi, Joe DiMaggio, Gene Sarazan, Mario Andretti, Joe Paterno, Tommy Lasorda, Eddie Arcaro and Phil and Tony Esposito.

"It's quite an honor to be inducted into this illustrious Hall of Fame that includes some of the biggest names in sports history," Ganassi said. "This Hall of Fame is truly unique because not only does it honor people who have distinguished themselves in the sporting world, but it also recognizes our very proud heritage and allows us to celebrate our Italian roots."

Ganassi is widely regarded as one of auto racing's leading owners, having led Target/Chip Ganassi Racing to three consecutive CART World Series Championships (Jimmy Vasser 1996, Alex Zanardi 1997, 1998). The team is just the second in CART history to win three straight titles. Ganassi has been a part of four CART championships, having served as a co-owner of the Patrick Racing team that won the title in 1989.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Ganassi was a driver in the CART series from 1982 to 1986. He was the fastest rookie qualifier for the 1982 Indy 500 and was named CART's Most Improved Driver that season. He retired from driving in 1986 with nine top-10 finishes in just 28 CART races.

Ganassi is a member of the CART board of directors and is the promoter and co-manager of Chicago Motor Speedway at Sportman's Park that will open in 1999. In addition to his involvement in auto racing, Ganassi is the executive vice president of the FRG Group, a Pittsburgh-based holding company with interests in telecommunications, manufacturing and computer businesses. He is also a partner in the ownership group that manages the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.

LaRussa has more than 19 years of Major League Baseball managerial experience. He was named American League Manager of the Year with the Chicago White Sox in 1983 and with the Oakland Athletics in 1988 and 1992. He led Oakland to a World Series Championship in 1989.

Beban was the 1967 recipient of the Heisman Memorial Trophy presented to the nation's top college football player. The former UCLA quarterback is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and has enjoyed a successful career in the commercial real estate industry.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Alex Zanardi , Mario Andretti , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing