CONCORD, N.C. — It felt like a first day of school for Trackhouse Racing employees, getting a first look at their new shop Monday morning.
Formally decked out in Chip Ganassi Racing red, the facility located in Concord, North Carolina, is now covered in blue as the organization, co-owned by Justin Marks and music superstar Pitbull, officially took over after its purchase back in June.
Employees filed their way into the front entrance, taking time to gather together in the front lobby and listen to a welcome speech from Marks over breakfast. Pitbull also appeared in a video message, telling the employees how proud he is of their efforts while offering words of encouragement for next season.
Trackhouse’s pair of drivers, Daniel Suárez and Ross Chastain, were also on hand for the official unveiling. Suarez even raced executive vice president and general manager Ty Norris to the door when it was time to head into the shop floor.
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“Now, it feels like home,” Suárez told NASCAR.com. “I knew something cool was going to happen to this place in the last week. Nobody saw this coming, I can guarantee you that. It looks very, very cool. Before, everything here was red. Now, almost everything is blue and it’s turning into blue slowly. It’s very, very nice to be part of this project. Just a year-and-a-half ago, all this was on paper and to know that today we are on this level, it’s pretty remarkable.”
Still in search for his first career Cup victory, Suárez ended his fifth full-time NASCAR Cup Series season with one top five and four top 10s, including a highest finish of fourth in the Bristol Dirt Race.
With the introduction of the Next Gen car for 2022, the 29-year-old driver didn’t have to think twice about continuing his run with Trackhouse.
“Justin always told me you have to trust me, I have a big mission for this,” Suarez said. “Ty Norris said the same thing. A lot of people thought I was a little bit crazy for taking a leap of faith for a second year in a row on a new team. My gut feeling was telling me this was the right place for me to be, not just for the short run but also for the long run and to grow together and be able to win races and championships.”
After racing a full year without a teammate, Suárez will now work alongside Chastain, who was brought into the fold after one season with Ganassi driving the No. 42 Chevrolet. Chastain will now drive the No. 1 Chevy, while Suárez will stick with the No. 99.
The welcome-home celebration was more of a welcome back for Chastain and other crew members who transferred over from Ganassi. But Chastain described a new energy in the air upon entry.
“It’s different,” Chastain said. “It’s more than a building, but it takes a building to be a home. We’ve got to have a place to work. This place has had a lot of race cars come in and out of it and a lot of people pour their careers and craftsmanships into race cars. We’re in the dawn of a new time with this car where it doesn’t take the amount of people. It’s not hand-fabricated and welded together. We’re buying a lot of it, so the group that’s going to appear to assemble it and to make these race cars better than the next, they have to be special because we’re all going to have the same tools as every other team in the sport.”
Both Suárez and Chastain have put a massive amount of faith in Marks and his plan, and rightly so. Marks hasn’t let off the throttle on his vision for Trackhouse’s future since his dream began, turning it into a reality on a timeline that is nothing short of impressive on one of motorsports’ biggest scales.
“This started as just an idea in my head and to see where we’ve gotten right now with it and as much as we’ve accomplished up to this point, it’s exciting but at the same time it really motivates me for the future and the opportunity that we have,” Marks said. “Seeing all these people in Trackhouse logos … I’m just ready to get to work.”
One of Marks’ various goals for Trackhouse is to create a work environment where his employees feel they have the best jobs in the sport. A new shop to complete that work is just the beginning of creating a family culture that’s capable of achieving unique things.
“It’s every day committing to the process of empowerment, accountability, recognizing that these people are truly the best at what they do and getting behind them and lifting them up and giving them all the tools to be successful,” Marks said. “That’s something that we will continue to do every day. But walking in here specifically and seeing all this … I mean, there’s been a race team in here for 20 years, but the air feels different today.”