Verizon IndyCar Series team owner Michael Andretti has hit out after a lawsuit has been filed which claims that Andretti Autosport is "insolvent and in imminent danger of insolvency and cannot pay it debts," calling it a reckless attempt to discredit the Andretti name.

To make matters worse, the suit has originated from uncomfortably close to home - another part of Andretti's business empire, his promotions company Andretti Sports Marketing.

Longtime Andretti employee John Lopes - who was reportedly fired as president of ASM last month, although the company's web site still lists him in that capacity - filed the lawsuit in Marion County Superior Court against Andretti Autosport Holding Company at the end of July. The suit claims that the race team is "seven million dollars in debt and has two million dollars in assets."

Lopes owns 20 per cent of ASM as does Starke Taylor, with Andretti himself owning the balance. As well as team principal of Andretti Autosport, Andretti is also the CEO and chairman of the board for ASM.

"This lawsuit is a disingenuous and self-serving attempt to benefit John Lopes and Starke Taylor at the expense of Andretti Autosport and its 120 employees," said Andretti in a statement.

"The allegations by Lopes and Taylor will not be supported by the evidence and we will aggressively respond with the truth.

"My family has strived to earn an exemplary reputation in all facets of our personal and professional lives. We will not allow this reckless attempt at grabbing leverage to impact our family name."

As well as running ASM, Lopes has also been helping race driver Simona de Silvestro after her split with her longtime manager in 2014. The Swiss driver has had three outings with Andretti in IndyCar this year including the Indianapolis 500, and also raced for the team in the final round of the inaugural Formula E championship in London.

ASM itself also recently filed suit against NOLA Motorsports Park over the alleged unpaid amount of $800,000 for organising and promoting the inaugural IndyCar event there in March. The company has also promoted the Grand Prix of Balitmore and the Milwaukee IndyFest, and the Formula E round at Miami.

It's been widely rumoured that ASM might be closed down, but Andretti himself has told journalists that he doesn't want to see that happen and for the time being business continues with a skeleton staff while new options and alternatives are explored.



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