Paul Tracy and Michael Shank on the grid at the Rolex 24 - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
If the stars align next week, Michael Shank Racing Indy will announce its driver in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series.
The Columbus-Ohio area team--racing this weekend in the Rolex 24 at Daytona--has sponsorship in place, has a new Dallara safety cell and has a driver lined up, but aren't terribly sure about their engine supply.
Shank announced an affiliation with Lotus during the ill-fated season finale last October in Las Vegas. Still, when the engine provider revealed its factory, or anchor teams, Shank's name wasn't among them.
The team says they are No. 6 in line to get engines of the maximum of seven that they've been told Lotus can provide, but the situation, they said is volatile.
If the i's are dotted and t's are crossed, the driver Shank has chosen is the venerable Canadian veteran Paul Tracy, racing here in Daytona Beach this weekend with Doran Racing in a Ford/Dallara older-spec Daytona Prototype.
CART's 2003 champion, Tracy is hoping the deal comes together as he'd like to complete another full season of Indy car racing; it's been a long, long time since he's had a full-year ride and, with his personal backing from Honda of Canada, perhaps Shank might be willing to change affiliations? Tracy said he'd like to do more sports car racing if this deal doesn't come together; even if it does, that's where he's expecting his career to trend at age 43.
So stay tuned to find out exactly what's going to happen with this new Indy car team. Will they make the bell at the season opener in St Petersburg the final weekend of March? This week should tell the tale of that tape.