Pittsburgh sports fans know the city built a reputation as a powerhouse in football, hockey and even baseball (back in the day). But NASCAR fans know Chip Ganassi put Pittsburgh on the map when it comes to racing.

That’s why it was big news last week when Ganassi, who is based in Pittsburgh, sold his NASCAR team to Justin Marks, owner of Trackhouse Racing.

“He made me a great offer that required my attention. The team wasn’t for sale,” Ganassi told The Associated Press. “I’m not out of racing, I’m just out of NASCAR. I still have an IndyCar team. I still have an IMSA sports car team. I still have a Formula E team. I had an offer that I was required to consider.”

“Chip has built an iconic motorsports empire and the Ganassi brand is globally recognized as a winner in the auto racing industry. It is truly an honor that we can build from that foundation,” Marks said.

No details of the deal were revealed.

But Jenna Fryer examined the probable reasoning behind the sale in a column for The Associated Press, where she wrote that “Ganassi had become the middle class, with no secure path to join the elite.”

She writes: “The decision to sell the entire NASCAR portion to Marks — Ganassi will essentially hand him the keys to the shop after the November season finale — was a bombshell no one saw coming but it makes so much sense.”

Ganassi has been a fixture in motorsports for nearly 40 years dating back to his driving days when he qualified for the Indianapolis 500 in 1982.

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