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Vasser, Sullivan Re-join Ownership Game With Coyne

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After being absent from the Verizon IndyCar Series grid in 2017, former CART champion Jimmy Vasser and his business partner James Sullivan are back in the mix with a new entity.

Following the closing of Kevin Kalkhoven’s KV Racing organization before last season, the ex-racer and his friend have been looking to get into the game during the off-season and will lend their support and expertise to Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 18 Honda. SealMaster, a pavement maintenance company, will serve as the sponsor of the primary machine for the Chicago, Illinois-based squad in nine of the 17 events. The new pairing will see as the single entity badged as Dale Coyne Racing With Vasser-Sullivan. DCR will remain as the official name of the No. 19 entry, which has yet to name a participant for the 2018 campaign.

“When Jimmy, Sulli and I met to discuss creating this partnership, it was very enticing,” said team owner Coyne. “They’ve had a lot of success in their previous years in INDYCAR and I’m thrilled to have them as partners.”

The 1996 CART series titlist is no stranger to team ownership, having joined the club in 2004 with Kalkhoven, while still handling driving duties. The biggest score for the KV group was in 2013, when the team’s lead chauffeur Tony Kanaan won the Indianapolis 500 in a late-duel with Carlos Munoz.

Vasser was equally stout at the wheel of an IndyCar and at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Along with his crown at Chip Ganassi Racing, the Californian found the winner’s circle ten times in a 15-year career. At the Brickyard, the American made eight appearances, with a best finish of fourth in 1994 and 2001.

“First, I want to acknowledge Kevin Kalkhoven, who gave both Sulli and myself the forum to be where we are today,” Vasser said. “After extensive talks, I am very pleased and proud to say that we will be continuing that legacy.”

The deal once again pairs Vasser and Sullivan with four-time ChampCar World Series title-holder Bourdais, who has earned 36 wins at the controls of a North-American open-wheel vehicle, including last year’s season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida. The group was coupled together for the final three years of KV Racing’s existence from 2014 to 2016, taking P1 results in four outings.

“I want to thank Dale Coyne, Jimmy Vasser and Sulli for the opportunity to move forward with this program that’s been in the works for over a year.” said Bourdais. “Over the last few years we’ve all captured poles and won races together. This is a team that started small, but what we needed, and now have collectively, is a consistent program from top to bottom that can compete at the highest level and contend for a championship. I am very excited to get in this SealMaster car and represent such a great company.”

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Matt Embury

An auto racing writer for over five years, Matt Embury's interest in auto racing was influenced from his father's side of the family. His first recollection of live racing attendance was in the early 1990s watching winged sprint car action at Butler Motor Speedway in Michigan with his uncle and dad.

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