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October 14th, 2011
Grand-Am squad Michael Shank Racing has announced that it will enter the IndyCar Series next year.
The team, which was previously a front-runner in the Atlantic Championship, will run a single car in a partnership between Shank, businessman Brian Bailey and NASCAR racer AJ Allmendinger.
Former Champ Car frontrunner Allmendinger, who regularly drives for Shank at the Daytona 24 Hours, intends to continue focusing on NASCAR and will not race the MSR IndyCar.
“For me, the Indianapolis 500 has always been the dream,” said team owner Michael Shank.
“With the new 2012 Dallara IndyCar, there is a window for a team like mine to join the series and pursue that dream. We’ve got the opportunity to come in and make an impact while still running an efficient programme, doing the most we can with the available resources.
“We are still working on finalising several elements of our programme, but we wanted to take this opportunity to announce our commitment to IndyCar and we look forward to finalising plans and to being ready to go in 2012.”
Allmendinger said he was excited to be involved in open-wheel racing again as part of his role with MSR.
“Obviously I have a close connection to open-wheel racing, but add that to the chance to work with Mike and his organisation and it’s something that really appealed to me,” said Allmendinger.
“Mike is one of the hardest working guys in motorsports and he’s a racer. I’ve always liked that about him, so I know he’ll fight hard for MSR Indy’s performance.
“We also hope to open some business relationships for our NASCAR Cup partners with this effort too.”
The MSR team will use Lotus engines next year.