Team Xtreme, one of the most exciting prospects of the Indy Racing League in the past three years, has shut its doors after failing to secure the budget to compete in 2002 leaving driver Airton Dare out in the cold and without some of the money owed to him by the three-year old team.

Rising Brazilian star Airton Dare could be left without a ride come the start of the 2002 Indy Racing League season after his only employers thus far in his two-year IRL career went bust.

Team Xtreme, founded by Steve Fisher in 1999, finally closed its doors for good last week after failing to find a replacement for 2001 title sponsors 1-800 Bar None despite finishing tenth in both the drivers and entrant standings with 2000 IRL Rookie of the Year Dare.

After reaching a two-car zenith in 2000 with Dare and Davey Hamilton - Team Xtreme looked set for a race-winning season in 2001 but despite having no less than six (yes six) team owners at the start of last year, nobody could generate any funding to compliment the meagre finances available thanks to the Bar None deal and as a result both reliability and pace suffered.

Dare, as usual, was exceptionally quick but only finished eight of 13 races after several mechanical vagaries and a particularly nasty accident at Nashville where his car became airborne after running over the back of Mark Dismore. In contention for a possible victory at Texas and Kansas, Dare could only summon a best finish of fifth at Richmond - one of seven in 2001, which is certainly not a bad figure from eight finishes.

Crucially, the team lost General Manager John Lopes to the CART hierarchy mid-season and with several of the 'team owners' completely new to the world of Motorsport; the team's ultimate demise seems to be a case of too many cooks and not enough broth.

As for Dare's plans he, along with Al Unser Jr and Dismore, currently top the list of just about anyone looking for a driver ahead of the 2002 season. Rumours of a third Kelley Racing entry for Dare may be wide of the mark but a seat alongside defending Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr at Panther Racing could well come to fruition and the 23-year old Brazilian seemed quietly confident that he would get a full time berth in 2002 after watching rookie George Mack complete his IRL orientation programme at the Homestead-Miami Speedway late last week.

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