Kelley Racing to fold, Delphi to Panther

UPDATE #4 This SPEED TV article has a few new quotes from team owner Tom Kelley. Bottom line – the only way Tom Kelley will still be involved in the IRL is if he runs a 2nd car with Scott Sharp and Delphi under the Playa Del Racing roof. 10/17/04 This rumor is about to go to 'fact' soon it appears. This Indy Star article says, Tom Kelley is on the verge of waving the checkered flag on his Indy Racing League career, he confirmed Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. The veteran team owner from Fort Wayne, Ind., acknowledged that he has a letter of intent to sell much of his race equipment to a new IRL team, and his primary sponsor has the option to leave Nov. 1. That means the end could be near for Indianapolis-based Kelley Racing, one of the IRL's original teams. "The cost of racing has gone up, and it's narrowed my options," said Kelley, whose family owns a chain of car dealerships. "I just can't keep up with what I call 'the super teams' anymore." 10/16/04 A statement from Tom Kelley to regarding the status of Kelley Racing – “Kelley Racing has had an opportunity to sell some of their assets. I think most people know that we own the assets to run a two-car team and on occasion a three-car team. We were approached by an organization that is putting together an IRL IndyCar Series program about purchasing some of those assets. So they have come in and done inventory on the items they are purchasing and in light of that, our locks were changed to limit access to the building. At that point we were able to say that as of Monday you (the purchasers) are now responsible for those assets. I don’t want to be in a position to have to go back in our shop in two weeks and do an additional inventory so we felt this was the best way to handle things as our team is off the week after the season ends. I met with my team last night and explained that to them and also let them know that there are a number of options yet for Kelley Racing. We could still possibly go on as we are–a one-car team, which is not my ideal option. We could pair up another organization as a two-car team or Delphi may very well come to me and buy out the sponsorship and go to a separate team. We just don’t know right now and we won’t know until the first of November what our path will be going forward. I’m trying to be flexible so that this ends up as the best scenario possible." 10/15/04 Latest word is that the Kelley Racing team has put their equipment up for sale and Sharp will indeed end up over at Panther racing with the Delphi backing. We are not sure what role Tom Kelley will have at Panther, if any. 10/02/04 On SPEED News Saturday Robin Miller reported that Ganassi had initially been willing to absorb Kelley's operation and Delphi until he found out Sharp HAD to be the driver. He said that Panther could be in line for Delphi because they had a meeting this morning with Kelley.

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