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Shank targets Indy 500 spot for Jay Howard

Michael Shank has filed an entry for his MSR Indy team to compete in next month's Indianapolis 500 - providing an engine package can be found in time.
Team owner Michael Shank hopes that his MSR Indy team will be at next month's Indianapolis 500, and is handing British driver Jay Howard the opportunity to take the race seat provided that the squad secures an engine in time.

“Filing the entry is just the first step for us,” admitted Shank, who earlier this year saw his GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series team take victory at the the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“We have the sponsor package in place, and we believe Jay is the kind of driver who could really shine in the 500," he continued. "The challenge remains for us to acquire the right to utilize a engine to practice, qualify, and race in the Indianapolis 500."

The team have a Dallara DW12 chassis ready to go. Although MSR Indy is thought to have a customer engine deal in place with Lotus, it is holding out for a deal with either Honda or Chevrolet before confirming the Indy 500 run.

“Entering the Indianapolis 500 is something I've been working on all my life, and this is a day I've been thinking about ever since stepping out of an Indy car and retiring as a driver,” continued Shank.

Last year, Howard qualified in 20th place and ran as high as seventh in the Indy 500 before being hit by a right-rear tyre issue and exiting the race before the midway point. He's clearly hoping for better in 2012.

"Competing in my first Indy 500 last year was a dream come true,” he said. "We've worked really hard to put the sponsorship in place and look forward to receiving an engine to compete this year."

There's only a few weeks for the deal to come together to put Howard out on the track again before on-track preparations begin at Indianapolis.

As the provisional entry list for the Indy 500 had already been published, Shank's late filing would need to be approved by IZOD IndyCar Series officials before it became official - but that appears to be just a formality.

"I'm confident something positive will happen,” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard was quoted as saying on Monday. "He's put together a good team and has a good driver and we'd love to have them on the track and ready to qualify for the 500."

"We look forward to making everything final, and will be making announcements regarding the program when appropriate," Shank added.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Former racing driver, now the newest IndyCar team owner Michael Shank announces his team`s 2012 entry with Lotus power at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ahead of the 2011 season finale. [Picture credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
British driver Jay Howard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) at the 2011 Indianapolis 500 during May. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Btyan Clauson tribute at Pocono   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Chris Owens]
Justin Wilson tribute at Pocono   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Mikhail Aleshin - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Chris Owens]
Mikhail Aleshin - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Mikhail Aleshin - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Chris Jones]
Firestone tyres during Indianapolis test   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Luca Filippi   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Shawn Gritzmacher]

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