Following a 30-year stint as a NASCAR team owner, Felix Sabates has retired from the industry, according to a report in the Associated Press.
The 74-year-old sold 80 percent of his ownership stake of Chip Ganassi Racing to Rob Kauffman before the 2016 season and will now completely divest himself from the organization before 2020. Sabates has battledÂ myriad health problems over the past decade, including an illness that left him in a coma for 29 days and inside an intensive care room for 73 days.
He is currently battling congestive heart failure.
Sabates told the AP that his heart âhas never been in the team as muchâ after selling the shares to Kauffman.
âI have had a great friendship with Chip for almost 20 years, and other than who was to pay for a bottle of wine, we have not have many disagreements,â Sabates said. âI donât have to worry about anything anymore other than to pull hard for Kurt (Busch) and Kyle (Larson), as well as the team to do well and for Chip to enjoy financial success and win. He works hard and put his heart and soul into his race teams, and he deserves it.â
Sabates is a Cuban native who also owns a stake in the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise. Heâs a noted philanthropist who has invested mightily into the Charlotte, North Carolina, community. Â He launched SabCo Racing in 1988 and sold controlling interest in the team to Ganassi in 2001.
It was simply time for Sabates to enjoy life completely away from motorsports.
âWhere do you even begin to describe Felix Sabates?â Ganassi said. âHeâs done so much for the sport of racing. I teamed up with him almost 20 years ago, and heâs been a great business partner and an even better friend.
âFelix 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.â