Felix Sabates will end his 32 years of motorsports team ownership in 2020.
Sabates, 74, has been a partner of Chip Ganassi since 2001 after initially founding his own team, SABCO Racing, in 1987.
“I look back to the 1980s when I first started in this sport, and I can tell you that the landscape has really changed,” said Sabates. “It’s been challenging at times, and tremendously rewarding watching the sport grow. 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.”
Sabates and Ganassi won 43 races together in the NASCAR between the Xfinity and Cup Series, which includes the 2010 Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 with Jamie McMurray. In 2019, both CGR cars – Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson – made the playoffs and won races.
Before joining forces with Ganassi, the SABCO team won seven races. The first six came with Kyle Petty, who was the team’s first driver. Joe Nemechek also scored a win for Sabates, which was also Nemechek’s first in the Cup Series.
In addition to their NASCAR partnership, Sabates and Ganassi also have a long association with sports car racing. Of their seven series championship and 64 wins, eight victories have been earned in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. They have also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done over the last 30 years,” continued Sabates. “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.
“I’ve always said that I never wanted to be an old man walking around the track; this is my way of honoring that commitment I made to myself years ago. 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.”
Sabates and Ganassi were never able to climb to the top of the NASCAR mountain with a championship. Sterling Marlin winning two races and finished third in the 2001 points was the closest the organization has come.
“Where do you even begin to describe Felix Sabates?” said Ganassi. “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. 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.”