Michael Shank Racing has a car to enter in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 race, but no engine in the car, and now, no driver.
IndyCar driver Jay Howard had contracted to drive for MSR, but with no engine contract in the offing, he has been released to seek a ride with other teams.
“We are working every possible opportunity to make this happen and continue to hold our entry for the Indianapolis 500,” said team owner Michael Shank in a press statement. “But at this point, we’ve not made the progress that we need to in terms of having our package finalized and having an agreement with a motor manufacturer.
“I know firsthand how hard it is to have the opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500, and the last thing in the world I want to do is to hold Jay back from getting the chance to do that.”
Michael Shank Racing announced its intent to contest the 2012 IndyCar season at the 2011 season finale in Las Vegas. The team purchased a new Dallara DW12 chassis in mid-January, and put together a sponsorship package.
However, with Chevrolet and Honda determined to produce only a limited number of engines and Lotus unable to produce enough engines for the teams it had signed, MSR got left out.
MSR will continue to seek an engine supplier for the May 27 race.
“This is what I do, and there isn’t an ounce of give up in me,” said Shank of his IndyCar ambitions. “But we also have to be realistic about the calendar and what it takes to properly prepare for a race like the Indianapolis 500. I’m not done trying to make something happen, but I don’t want to keep Jay from realizing his dream, either.
“I’ve burned up every favor I could think of, called anyone who would be willing to listen, and been trying to work with Randy [Bernard, IndyCar CEO] to just be able to get a motor. But the hole in the back of my DW12 is no closer to being filled than it was when we filed the entry.”
MSR Indy is a partnership between Michael Shank, AJ Allmendinger, and Ohio businessman Brian Bailey; it is a separate entity from Shank’s successful Grand Am Rolex team.