Chip Ganassi attended the Bob Bondurant Driving School in 1977. He won his first auto race in a Formula Ford at the age of 18.
He began his CART career in 1982, in his first race at Phoenix, Ganassi qualified with the fastest speed of 197 mph. He competed in the Indianapolis 500 five times, with a best finish of 8th in 1983.
The following season, he would go on and finish a career best second in Cleveland, however, his career was cut short in his next race, by a big crash that injured him badly at Michigan.