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MSR and Conquest likely to miss St Pete

Michael Shank has admitted that his bid to launch a new IndyCar team isn't going as well as hoped, while Conquest Racing may not compete before Indy.
Michael Shank has conceded in a press statement that he "isn't where he wants to be just yet" in his bid to launch a new team, MSR Indy, in time for the start of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season opener at St Petersburg.

"We've got the car in the shop and the people we need to go run the car, but at this point we are still working to have the full budget in place to go racing," said Shank, who is fighting to launch the team with backing from Penske Racing NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger and Columbus-area businessman Brian Bailey.

According to the press statement, the fledgling team "had a setback as an anticipated partnership program for the MSR Indy campaign did not develop as had been intended." Shank also missed out on winning any share of the IndyCar Series 'Leaders Circle' funding subsidies, announced at the start of this week.

It's thought that the partnership program in question is related to one of Paul Tracy's backers who has pulled out at the last minute. Tracy still hopes to pull together enough sponsorship to bring to the team in exchange for a race seat for his final year in the sport, and is said to be in talks with a Canadian sponsor that could be interested in a marketing program built around Tracy's 'farewell tour'.

"I want to run PT, that's been the plan for the last eight weeks," Shank said, but he conceded: "This setback didn't help, and there's a small chance it could be someone else."

However it is now reported that the team have at least nailed down a customer engine deal with Lotus. The team had held off on signing the final contract in the hope that Tracy's involvement with the team might give them a shot at a Honda deal instead, but Honda says that it has now reached its absolute limit in the number of teams it can service in 2012.

Shank isn't giving up on making it to the season opener next month, but admits that it's going to be an uphill battle given that the other teams are already well into their pre-season track activities.

"Obviously, there are folks out there testing right now and that is the best case scenario to be in. We've got a little bit bigger hill to climb at the moment, but we are not giving up by any stretch," he said.

"I don't want to be in a position to just go out and make up the numbers - we want to show up and have a competitive presence," he continued. "My main goal is to make this thing work, and if that means working with a technical partner to make it happen or just focusing on particular races, then so be it."




Related Pictures

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Conquest owner Eric Bachelart [Photo Credit: Ron Mcqueeney for IndyCar Media]
MSR Indy team boss Michael Shank, with IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard [Photo credit: Brett Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates with the Ed Carpenter Racing team after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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