Felix Sabates retiring after 'tremendously rewarding' career

Felix Sabates has decided to bring his more than 30-year career as an owner in motorsports to an end next season.

Felix Sabates retiring after 'tremendously rewarding' career

Sabates, 74, announced Thursday that he will retire as part-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing in 2020. Sabates entered NASCAR competition in 1987 as owner of SABCO Racing and became part-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001.

“I look back to the 1980s when I first started in this sport, and I can tell you that the landscape has really changed. It’s been challenging at times, and tremendously rewarding watching the sport grow,” Sabates said. “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.”

Read Also:

Since joining the Ganassi organization, Sabates has been a part of 43 wins across two NASCAR national series, including victories in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. 

Both Cup Series cars driven by Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson won races in 2019 and made the playoffs, with Larson advancing to the Round of 8 – the furthest a CGR car has ever advanced since the playoff system began.

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.

“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,” Sabates said of his decision. 

“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.” 

Read Also:

A native of Cuba, Sabates has been a resident of Charlotte, N.C., since 1963 and been involved in professional sports and a community leader for more than four decades. In 1988, he became an original owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and is the only person to also hold an ownership stake with the current Hornets team owned by Michael Jordan. 

“Where do you even begin to describe Felix Sabates? He’s done so much for the sport of racing. I teamed up with him almost 20 years ago, and he’s been a great business partner and an even better friend. In that time, the only thing we’ve had an argument over was who was picking up the tab at dinner,” Ganassi said.

“Felix helped me develop as an owner as well as an individual. His track record in this sport certainly sets the bar high for anyone that follows. 

“I’m proud to call him a friend and wish him all the best.”

shares
comments
John Hunter Nemechek moves fulltime to Cup Series in 2020
Previous article

John Hunter Nemechek moves fulltime to Cup Series in 2020

Next article

Ford chief: NASCAR Next Gen car "a very big step forward"

Ford chief: NASCAR Next Gen car "a very big step forward"
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021