Ganassi Claims Rolex 24 Snodgrass Award

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Team owner Chip Ganassi, right, was presented with the Snodgrass Award of Excellence. (Rolex/Tom O'Neal photo)
Team owner Chip Ganassi, right, was presented with the Snodgrass Award of Excellence. (Rolex/Tom O'Neal photo)
Team owner Chip Ganassi, right, was presented with the Snodgrass Award of Excellence. (Rolex/Tom O’Neal photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi has won multiple road-racing honors. He can add the Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence to his list now as well.

The announcement was made during the traditional prelude to the Rolex 24 At Daytona – the Grand Marshal Dinner – which was held at the Daytona 500 Club on Friday. From a short list of four successful team owners who competed in the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, a panel of motorsports professionals selected Ganassi.

“It’s a pleasure to be here to present this award in honor of my father,” said Harris Snodgrass, Bob’s son, in introducing Ganassi as the winner. “First and foremost, I would like to thank Gorsline Company, the premier insurer of high-risk professionals, for continuously making this award possible.

“The fact that my father’s impact on people is still relevant, and his legacy is staying alive, is more than I could ever ask for for my best friend and mentor.

“The Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence recognizes a team owner or manager who has demonstrated the qualities of honesty, integrity, passion for the sport of automobile racing and an infinite love of cars altogether. As most of you already know, these are all characteristics that made my father who he was, so the basis for this award is very fitting.

“Following racing my whole life and knowing many people in this industry, it is without a doubt that this year’s candidates are all worthy of this award,” added Snodgrass. “It is an honor every year to be able to present this award, because I know that my father would be very pleased knowing that the ethics he lived by were worthy of such an honor. All of these gentlemen would ‘do the right thing,’ which is something he always preached.”

The other candidates for the 2015 award were Bobby Rahal, Kevin Buckler and Bill Riley.

A fixture in the auto racing industry for over 30 years as a race-car driver and team owner, Ganassi is considered one of the most successful and innovative owners in the sport. He currently counts two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, four in the Verizon IndyCar Series, two in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, two in the World Endurance Championship and two cars in Global Rally Cross.

Overall, in his 26 years of ownership, Ganassi’s teams have won 18 championships including his 11th IndyCar Championship in 2015. In addition, his team picked up its sixth overall victory in the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

He manages his teams from state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Concord, N.C., and a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Ganassi was presented with a specially engraved Stainless Steel and Platinum Rolex Yacht-Master by Stewart Wicht, President and CEO of Rolex Watch USA, “a watch my father would have picked personally for this award as he loved giving it to deserving employees,” added Snodgrass.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m a little taken aback,” said Ganassi. “I’m just a little kid from Pittsburgh who wanted to go racing. I had slot cars, go karts and things. I wanted to be a driver when I grew up. I wanted to be like Mario Andretti, or A.J. Foyt, or Rick Mears, Richard Petty. I wanted to be like those guys. And then when I got driving out of my system there were other people you run into that you kind of want to emulate. And some of those people are in this room tonight. Like Bill France, Jim France. One of the people that you would want to be like was Bob Snodgrass.

“Road racing was always in my background as a driver. I sort of came back to road racing after I was in IndyCar racing and NASCAR and so it was nice to see that there was somebody like Bob. He kind of owned what racing was all about. I think that’s important.”

The Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence was created to recognize the team owner or team manager who has demonstrated the qualities of integrity, passion for the sport and the love of cars for which Bob Snodgrass was known during his life and career. The award – supported by Gorsline Company, the premier insurer of high-risk professionals – has been presented to Bob Stallings (2010), Joe Sahlen (2011), Peter Baron (2012), John Stevenson (2013) and Alex Job (2014).