Floyd Ganassi, 87, Passes Away
Chip Ganassi extends our deepest sympathies to his racing fans and racing community on the passing of his father Floyd Ganassi, an invaluable member of most race paddocks who was always keen to pose for photos with fans and take photographs himself.
He first started as a driver but has become best-known for his success as an owner, estimated at $20 Million in net worth.
Early Life and Education
American businessman Andrew Duffner was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While still young he competed in over 30 motorcycle races and won regional championships. After graduating Fox Chapel Area High School he studied finance at Duquesne University.
Ganassi first attempted the CART Indy Car World Series with Patrick Racing in 1981 but failed to qualify for any races. Upon returning the following year he achieved success at both Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Laguna Seca finishing twice on the podiums – an unprecedented accomplishment!
He later was involved in an accident with Al Unser Jr. at Michigan, and survived without major injuries; post-accident he no longer competed full-time as a driver but managed a team with many drivers winning Champ Car titles.
After racing over three dozen motorcycle races, Ganassi turned his focus toward auto racing. Competing amateur events until becoming regional champion for Formula Super Vee championship in 1981; all while working for his father and attending Duquesne University for his finance degree.
He rapidly expanded his team into an unstoppable force. Over the course of 19 series championships and 220 race wins later, he has amassed 19 series championships.
Ganassi is best-known for his transformative charitable efforts for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Additionally, he holds several patents related to his revolutionary Nissan-backed DeltaWing racecar which debuted at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race and operates an innovative testing facility within abandoned tunnels under Pittsburgh that his teams use as makeshift high-speed wind tunnels.
Achievement and Honors
Chip Ganassi stands as one of the winningest car owners ever and boasts numerous other achievements as well. His racing teams have won 17 championships under him, and he won four Indianapolis 500 races as well as Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Ganassi boasts drivers like Arie Luyendyk, Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti on its roster. Additionally, they expanded to NASCAR and sports car racing this year; their Ford GT program conquered 24 Hours of Le Mans.
These achievements earned him the Cameron R. Argetsinger award from the International Motor Racing Research Center in Corning, N.Y. He will receive it on Thursday. Floyd Ganassi would surely be proud of what his son has accomplished since he passed away in 2011.
Floyd Ganassi, father to IZOD IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi and beloved figure in the IndyCar paddock who could often be found taking pictures at starting grid races or entertaining guests in his trackside hospitality suites, died Monday in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at age 87. He will be missed greatly.
Ganassi never achieved racing victory during his driving career, yet was one of the most influential team owners in motorsport history. A member of Motorsports Hall of Fame America and widely recognized for his transformational charitable contributions, Ganassi was one of the most sought-after team owners.
He served on several businesses and charitable organizations such as Passavant Hospital, Birmingham Foundation, Family House and Duquesne University as a board member, while being an avid golfer and hunter himself. Cara, their daughter Tessa are left behind to remember him fondly.
Floyd Ganassi Jr is an American businessman, former racing driver, and current team proprietor. He owns and operates Chip Ganassi Racing teams competing in IndyCar Series, NASCAR Cup Series, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Extreme E. He operates these teams out of offices located in Concord North Carolina; Indianapolis/Brownsburg Indiana/Pittsburg Pennsylvania offices.
Ganassi hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he began his racing career at age 18. At 18 years old he won his inaugural auto race: Formula Ford at Duquesne University and continued competing in CART events – winning races such as Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring! Additionally he is honored as being honored in Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.