Pataskala, Ohio – No one has ever accused Mike Shank of lacking commitment. From muscling his under-funded Atlantics operation into the winner circle, first as a driver and then as a team owner, to mortgaging his home to launch his Rolex Sports Car Series operation, the Ohio native has always put his effort where his mouth was.
Shank was the only new team to publicly commit to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series as he hoped to take the unfinished business he had as a driver in the category and make a return to the hallowed Brickyard to compete in the Indianapolis 500 as a team owner. Despite having sponsors on board to support the effort, and an ace signed to drive, the lack of availability for competitive motors kept Shank from fulfilling that ambition in 2012.
“There are a lot of teams that are focused on the Indianapolis 500, and this group (Michael Shank Racing) could be a way for some of these teams to partner up and support that effort while not having to commit to that kind of infrastructure for the full season,” said Shank, who made one start in the Indy Racing League before hanging his helmet up for good. “So we’ve moved on from car ownership at this point, but we are working to continue to do what is right for my guys and try to find the right opportunity in the future.”
The 2012 season saw Shank fulfill his ambition of racing at the Speedway as the Rolex Series made a historic debut in July as part of the SuperWeekend event. While his burgeoning sports car operation continues to grow, he still will be targeting plans for an open-wheel opportunity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I’ll admit, I’m going to be keeping an eye on that car,” said Shank about the DW12 that SPM will campaign. “I can’t tell you how much blood, sweat, and tears went into building this team to even be in a position to try to go IndyCar racing. But we also have to make some tough decisions along the way to make sure we have the footing we need to continue to grow, and this was just another of those decisions. I don’t see this as the end of this at all. You simply can’t be in my position and not be completely driven to want to compete in the Indianapolis 500, so we will just have to keep working and exploring all the options and see what happens.”
Michael Shank Racing will look to build some championship momentum when the Rolex Sports Car Series debuts at the Circuit of the Americas March 2.
Michael Shank Racing