New IndyCar team in the works
James Sullivan has teamed with former NASCAR owner Michael Holigan in motocross and action sports teams, helped produce a reality TV show, even served a stint as the Baylor Bear.
Next up for the Dallas businessman friends call "Sulli" is his most ambitious project: the Indianapolis 500.
Teaming with VPX/Redline vice president TJ Humphreys, Sullivan and newly formed SH Racing have everything but a driver in place to run at next year's Indy 500, with an eye on developing a full-season program by 2012.
"At this point, the check is in the bank," Sullivan said. "We're not waiting on anything other than the very best driver at the best price we can get."
The car will be operated in conjunction with an established, but yet-to-be-named IndyCar team and SH Racing is in talks with at least three drivers, including open-wheel vet Paul Tracy.
The deal will be similar to the partnership between Kingdom Racing and de Ferran Dragon Racing for part-time driver Davey Hamilton and the collaboration between Andretti Autosport and Richard Petty to get John Andretti into a ride for this year's Indy 500.
SH Racing will announce the partnership with the current IndyCar team when it unveils its Team Redline Xtreme car at the National Association of Convenience Stores Show, Oct. 5-8 in Atlanta. The team will then focus on finding a driver, hopefully getting one in place before Christmas.
"We wanted a program that's not driver contingent," Sullivan said. "We have everything in place, so now we can go hire a driver on merit, not on what foreign oil check does he have in his pocket."
Sullivan is new to IndyCar, but not racing.
He handled the marketing side of teams with Holigan Racing, which had riders in motocross, supercross and action sports. The team also produced its own reality TV show, The Reality of Speed, which aired one season on Spike and two on the Speed channel.
Sullivan was negotiating with VPX/Redline for another two-wheel deal, but shifted to IndyCar because the company can't market to anyone under 18. The two sides starting working on the deal before this year's Indy 500 and are committed to racing at the Indy 500 the next three years. If all goes according to plan, the team will race a full IndyCar season in 2012.
"IndyCar has really been a passion of ours for a long time, but we've never been able to make the economics of it work," said Sullivan, the Baylor Bear mascot from 2001-02. "It's a tough sell, it really is, but we found a way to get it done." CBS Sports