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Ganassi unplugs with online weekly series

Jenna Fryer, AP Auto Racing Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Having a cameo in the so-bad-it's-funny 2001 racing movie "Driven" would have been a drop-the-mic moment for most people.

Not for racing team owner Chip Ganassi.

Ganassi, one of racing's biggest personalities, is headed to the small screen in a new Web-based series that will feature the Chip Ganassi Racing Teams owner.

The first episode of "Ganassi Unplugged" has him discussing the changing face of auto racing, both on the track and in the grandstands. Ganassi discusses the importance of courting today's teens as fans and making racing an attractive entertainment option.

"The entire face of the sport is going to change in terms of who is the grandstands in the next 10 to 20 years, so it's obvious we need to bring on new people if we have any future at all," Ganassi says.

The father of a teenage daughter, Ganassi then explains how when he was 15, independence meant getting a driver's license and a car but today's youth find it through a smartphone.

The first of the short video clips was scheduled to debut Wednesday afternoon on GanassiTV with a new episode airing weekly through the official opening of the 2014 racing season at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

"Ganassi Unplugged is an innovative approach to digital content within the motorsports industry," said Steve Lauletta, President of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. "It is hard to find any other team owners, especially as involved as Chip, sharing their passion and personal views of the sport with the public."

Ganassi-owned teams have won 15 championships and more than 150 races, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and five Rolex 24 races at Daytona. He fields three IndyCar teams, two Sprint Cup teams in NASCAR and one Daytona Prototype in the Grand-AM Series.

Next season, Ganassi will promote 21-year-old hotshot Kyle Larson to the Cup Series in his flagship No. 42 Chevrolet. Larson is among a new wave of young drivers considered to be the future of NASCAR.

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