The largest item on the checklist for MSR Indy to make its debut at this year's Indianapolis 500 remains unchecked as of Monday, and although all the other boxes appear checked off, no engine will mean no team in this year's race.
Team owner Michael Shank told the Associated Press Monday he will have to withdraw the entry if a Chevrolet or Honda engine doesn't become available within the next day or so.
“It doesn't look like we are going to be able to work anything out as we sit here today,” Shank told the AP. “We are up against the calendar, just in terms of being able to run competitively. It's been two weeks – two weeks of just not being able to get anything done – and it really, really bums me out on so many levels.”
While a Lotus engine would seem to be feasible, given the fact the team had initially announced its intentions to run with Lotus in October and now that two teams have parted ways with the manufacturer, Shank admitted fielding a competitive, viable entry would be challenging with Lotus.
“I've got nothing against the people at Lotus, but this is a huge risk for me and my life and my team, and I am not willing to do it with zero hope,” Shank said. “And there's no hope of getting a top 10 with a Lotus.”
Additionally, Shank noted to the AP he had left messages to everyone, including IndyCar, and had received no response. Chevrolet's Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president for Chevrolet performance vehicles and motorsports, told the AP that Chevrolet was “near capacity” for Indianapolis.
Jay Howard, slated to drive the entry provided it happens, would be left in yet another lurch regarding racing in the 500. The Englishman had two prior Indianapolis appearances (2008 and 2010) before he made his debut in the race last year.
“I'm really disappointed at the moment that we are still sitting here talking about not having an engine,” he said. “Everyone knows how difficult it is to put the sponsorship in place and to still not have a motor is really sad and discouraging. I want to apologize to my sponsors that we have not been able to resolve this. I have worked really hard to get this opportunity alongside my management at BRANDed and to still not have an engine makes me question my future and where I invest my resources moving forward.
“At some point the team will have reached a point where they will not be able to put everything together because it's becoming so last minute,” he added. “If that happens, I'm not sure what we will do. I didn't think it would come to this point but we will continue to exhaust all our efforts to make the Indy 500 happen for my sponsors if they remain on board.”