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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

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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]
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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