When Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart's post-Long Beach quote contained the line 'everybody on the team has done a fantastic job and we have been competing with the best organisations for two races in a row - we just need a break', he was referring to fortune - but he might as well have been looking ahead to round three of the IndyCar Series.
The team's post-race release had already hinted that it would not be seen again until the 'Month of May' kicked off in preparation for the Indianapolis 500, and the subsequent entry list published ahead of this weekend's RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300 all but confirmed that the distinctive orange Conquest Dallara would indeed be missing.
No reason has been given for the absence, but Conquest was known to be struggling for sponsorship during the off-season, and only managed to contest the two street races in St Petersburg and Long Beach after inking a last-minute deal with the organisers and promoters of the Edmonton round, which saw veteran Alex Tagliani make an even later return to the cockpit.
The Canadian is not renowned as an oval racer, although he is no mug either, and it is not as odd as it seems that the team is choosing to skip the first oval of the year when Indianapolis is next. The Kansas track bears little relevance to the Brickyard, and Conquest is not expected to be a such a disadvantage at Indy thanks to less track time in the build-up to the blue riband race.
If it is a lack of sponsorship behind the team's absence, however, it underlines the need for the recently-agreed partnership with Rubicon Sports Agency to come up trumps if the team is to continue the rest of the season after back-to-back tenth place finishes for Tagliani.
"Creating a successful commercial platform for your race team is critical to long term survival in today's environment." Rubicon co-owner Jim Freudenberg wrote at the time of the deal, "Jason [Priestley] and I are appreciative of the opportunity Eric has given us to bring our sponsors and platform to Conquest and build for the future."
Conquest's two entries for the Indianapolis 500 currently have TBA in place of named drivers, suggesting that Tagliani's chances of returning hang in the balance, while there may be opportunities for monied replacements.