Michael Shank reveals 2012 IndyCar plans in Vegas

Michael Shank announced on Thursday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that his team will expand operations by launching an IZOD IndyCar Series effort starting with the 2012 season. The team, MSR Indy, has purchased a 2012 Dallara IndyCar and is set to take delivery on December 15. MSR Indy will be based at Michael Shank Racing’s 20,000 square-foot shop located outside of Columbus, Ohio. The team will also continue to stage a full season Daytona Prototype campaign in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

Michael Shank has formed MSR Indy by establishing a pair of partnerships that grew out of long-term business relationships. Columbus area businessman Brian Bailey has joined the MSR Indy effort as a principal partner.

MSR Indy will also see NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger join the venture as a principal partner. Allmendinger first raced for Michael Shank in the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona, scoring a podium result as co-driver on a line up that included Mark Patterson, Ozz Negri, and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson. The MSR Indy involvement is a business partnership for Allmendinger and his Walldinger Racing management company. While he is expected to return to the Michael Shank Racing squad in the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Allmendinger will not be driving the MSR Indy entry as he continues to focus on his driving duties in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.

For many in the IndyCar paddock, Michael Shank is already a familiar face, having had several prominent drivers in the category race for him in Rolex Series competition.

“For me, the Indianapolis 500 has always been the dream," said Michael Shank about the MSR Indy program. “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 program, doing the most we can with the available resources. We are still working on finalizing several elements of our program, but we wanted to take this opportunity to announce our commitment to IndyCar and we look forward to finalizing plans and to being ready to go in 2012."

“This is an incredible opportunity, to be a part of Michael Shank’s move into IndyCar and the next era in the sport," said Bailey. “He has put so much into building this team to be ready to take on this kind of campaign. I believe in Michael, his people, and his team, so this is an exciting program to be a part of."

“Obviously I have a close connection to open-wheel racing, but add that to the chance to work with Mike and his organization and it's something that really appealed to me," said Allmendinger, who has led every Rolex 24 at Daytona he has started, all for Michael Shank Racing. “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."

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