IndyCar stars Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and EJ Viso will not be competing in this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance event, after the sponsorship funding for their #2 Starworks Motorsports Ford Riley failed to materialise.
"Guys, unfortunately I will not race at the Daytona 24H this Saturday. The funding that the Starworks Motorsports team had went away," Kanaan announced on his Twitter page on Tuesday. "As far as I know only the 2nd car is out. Their regular entry is still good for the race."
Kanaan had been due to race the car on the infield road course in Daytona Beach, Florida alongside fellow IndyCar drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and EJ Viso. Miguel Potolicchio and Maurizio Scala were also slated to share the driving duties.
"Some bad news today, funding evaporated on the No. 2 Starworks car I was set to drive in the Daytona 24 hour this weekend," Hunter-Reay announced on his own Twitter timeline. "This will be the first time I have missed the 24hrs of Daytona since 2006!"
"Disappointed," added EJ Viso. "We had a good lineup going on for the 24h."
Viso went on to make it clear that he felt the blame lay with the intended sponsors not living up to their word: "A shame that there still are people that don't follow what they agree. Shame on them," he tweeted. "It has nothing to do with the team. They did all they where supposed to."
As for Kanaan, he was trying to stay philosophical. "On the other hand, I will be testing my #11 KV Racing IndyCar on Monday again!" he added to his Twitter page, along with a Michael Jordan quote: "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."
Starworks owner Peter Baron said he had held off on the decision until the very last minute in the hope that the money would materialise.
"The funding was supposed to come through for that, we we're waiting for as long as possible and holding out hope, but it all fell through at the last moment and we can't funds things out of our own pocket," he said. "It would have been very exciting, but that is motor sport. Sometimes these things happen. Everybody worked very hard to get everything in place."
There is still the possibility that the team could field the car with a different set of drivers if a late deal comes through, but the trio of IndyCar stars are definitely out of the event. "We're doing our best to see what we can figure out," said Baron. "I can't really say more."